Presented in partnership with Visual AIDS, Being & Belonging highlights stories of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) from the perspectives of artists who are themselves living with HIV/AIDS. First organized by Visual AIDS in 1989, Day With(out) Art invites arts and cultural organizations to acknowledge the global impact of the AIDS crisis each year on December 1.
This program features newly commissioned works by Camila Arce (Argentina), Davina “Dee” Conner and Karin Hayes (USA), Jaewon Kim (South Korea), Clifford Prince King (USA), Santiago Lemus and Camilo Acosta Huntertexas (Colombia), Mikiki (Canada), and Jhoel Zempoalteca and La Jerry (México).
From navigating intimacy and sex to confronting stigma and isolation, Being & Belonging articulates the emotional realities of people living with HIV today. How does HIV shift the ways that one experiences, asks for, or provides love and support? The videos are a call for belonging from those who have been stigmatized within their communities or left out of the mainstream HIV/AIDS narratives. The videos in the program address the contemporary realities of HIV/AIDS through a range of global perspectives, exploring access to medication; the complexities of race, class, and gender; and the politics of recreational drug use in sexual contexts.
Special thanks to T. Reckling.
Visual AIDS is a New York-based non-profit that utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.
Get a sneak peek at works in this exhibition.
Camila Arce (she/her) is an artivista (artist and activist) from Rosario, Argentina, who has been living with HIV since she was born twenty-seven years ago. Her work is committed to the needs and realities of women living with HIV and above all the experiences of verticales, those who were born with HIV or who seroconverted through breastfeeding. She is a fervent advocate for the release of drug patents and an HIV cure.
Davina “Dee” Conner (she/her) is an award-winning HIV educator, podcast host, and international speaker who has been living with HIV since 1997. Her podcast, Pozitively Dee Discussions, won ADAP’s 2017 Leadership Award for working to dispel internalized stigma and change how society views HIV. She works against HIV criminalization as a member of the Positive Justice Project, is a contributing writer for h-i-v.net, and works with multiple local and national HIV prevention organizations.
Karin Hayes (she/her) is an award-winning documentary director and producer. Her credits include We’re Not Broke (Sundance Film Festival/iTunes), The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (HBO/CNN), Held Hostage in Colombia (History/SundanceTV), Pip & Zastrow: An American Friendship (PBS/MPT), and the documentary series: That Animal Rescue Show (Paramount+), and Truth and Power (Participant Media). She has also worked on projects for Supper Club, Film45, National Geographic, Discovery, and Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Jaewon Kim (he/him) is a Korean artist currently based in Seoul, South Korea. Kim primarily works with video, photography, and installation to discuss the lives of queer people and people living with HIV/AIDS. Working from his personal experiences, Kim devises narratives that trace moments from the past and the future. Much of his work considers how the force of disease affects personal relationships. Recent solo exhibitions include Back then, If Bell Doesn’t Ring (2020) and Romantic Fantasy (2021).
Clifford Prince King (he/him) is an artist living and working in New York and Los Angeles. King documents his intimate relationships in traditional, everyday settings that speak on his experiences as a queer black man. King has recently exhibited work at several museums and galleries in New York, California, and Massachusetts, and his work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Aperture, and Vogue. King was runner-up for the Robert Giard Emerging Artist Grant in 2020.
Camilo Acosta Huntertexas (he/him) is a visual artist born in Ibagué-Tolima, Colombia with a focus on audiovisual projects, video editing, experimental video, VJ sets, and music video production, and he has curated projects involving performance, video, and live arts. Acosta is a co-founder and active member of the House of Tupamaras, a collective committed to research and creative production around issues of gender, performance, and public space. He is also part of the performance collective Street Jizz.
Santiago Lemus (he/him) is an artist born in Sogamoso, Colombia. His interdisciplinary work uses organic matter, image, and sound to address the relationship between art, nature, and landscape through installations, interventions, performances, photography, and video. Lemus’s work has been exhibited in cities such as Bogotá, Barranquilla, and Berlin, among others. He is co-founder of Tomamos la Palabra, a collective that creates interventions in public spaces denouncing homophobia, transphobia, racism, and violence.
Mikiki (they/them) is a performance and video artist and queer community health activist of Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Irish descent from Ktaqmkuk/Newfoundland, Canada. Their identity as a queer artist and activist has necessitated a porous boundary between what is labelled art-making or activism versus ‘being’ in the world. Mikiki has worked in various capacities in the gay men's health and HIV response, and in harm reduction outreach and HIV testing all over Canada.
Jhoel Zempoalteca (he/him) is a visual artist and educator born in Tlaxcala, Mexico. His work seeks to produce a counter-pedagogy by deconstructing the visual imaginaries surrounding dissident and seropositive experiences. Zempoalteca holds a BA in Visual Arts from Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda.” His work has been exhibited in Mexico, Guatemala, and Spain.
La Jerry (they/them) is a non-binary folk dancer born and raised in Juchitan, Mexico. They have participated in numerous folk dance gatherings and festivals in Mexico. They are currently developing their drag persona from their perspective as a non-binary, racialized, and seropositive folk dancer, challenging the heteronormativity that governs social and cultural representations of Mexico.
Swagato Chakravorty, Daniel W. Dietrich II Fellow, Contemporary Art