Through Positive Eyes is a large-scale photography and storytelling project that illuminates the life experiences of more than 130 people living with HIV and AIDS. The exhibition presents 50 of these personal statements—photo-essays and videos generated over the past 12 years. The works include intimate self-portraits as well as everyday imagery of relationships, bodies, hobbies, and more abstract meditations on joy, grief, and resilience. Participating photographers hail from 10 cities across the globe, including Johannesburg, Los Angeles, London, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro—a multitude of disparate voices that coalesce around one core tenet: a belief that challenging stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS is the most effective method for combating the epidemic.
The photo-essays are complemented by a newly commissioned sculptural work by Los Angeles–based multimedia artist Alison Saar, an HIV-negative ally whose installation celebrates survivors and their voices. Scheduled public programs will incorporate personal storytelling in the galleries, performed by the Los Angeles Through Positive Eyes collective—seven HIV-positive Angelenos who have studied photography with project codirector Gideon Mendel.
Through Positive Eyes is organized by the UCLA Art & Global Health Center with the Fowler Museum at UCLA and cocurated by David Gere, Director, UCLA Art & Global Health Center, Professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, and founder of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS; Carol Brown, independent curator; and Stan Pressner, lighting designer.
The exhibition is made possible by major funding from the Herb Ritts Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Teiger Foundation, UNAIDS, the Gere Foundation, and Elizabeth and Graeme Gilfillan in honor of Sarah Gilfillan.