Through Positive Eyes is a large-scale photography and storytelling project created in collaboration with more than 130 people living with HIV/AIDS. The exhibition includes photography and video by artist-activists from 10 cities across the globe and a sculpture installation by Los Angeles–based multimedia artist Alison Saar. Combined, these works conjure a broad picture of the epidemic—ranging from everyday imagery to more abstract meditations on joy, grief, solitude, and resilience. Public programs will incorporate live storytelling in the gallery performed twice weekly by seven HIV-positive Angelenos known as the Los Angeles Through Positive Eyes Collective. This multitude of perspectives and voices 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 exhibition is cocurated by David Gere, UCLA Professor of World Arts and Cultures, who, with photographer Gideon Mendel, co-founded Through Positive Eyes in 2007.
“Stigma grows out of fear, which prevents people from getting themselves tested and treated,” said Gere, who is director of the UCLA Art & Global Health Center. “By seeing these photographs and reading the accompanying stories, we can overcome fear and recognize our common humanity. That’s what Through Positive Eyes is all about: banishing stigma. It is the most important thing we can do to stop the epidemic.”
Artivist in-gallery performances
Various dates, October 6, 2019–February 16, 2020
Through Positive Eyes incorporates storytelling in the gallery performed twice weekly by seven HIV-positive Angelenos known as the Los Angeles Through Positive Eyes Collective. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons, the Collective will share their photographs and their personal narratives, engaging in direct dialogue with museumgoers who are invited to attend in final gallery of the exhibition.
Performances are approximately 45 minutes each. Visitors are encouraged to enter the last room of the exhibition on the hour and experience the entire story.
Wednesdays 5 – 8pm
beginning at 5pm, and on the hour thereafter. Last performance begins at 7pm.
Oct. 16, 23, 30
Nov. 6, 13, 20
Dec. 4, 11, 18
Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29
Feb. 5, 12
Sundays 1 – 4pm
beginning at 1pm, and on the hour thereafter. Last performance begins at 3pm.
Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27
Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24
Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26
Feb. 2, 9, 16
PRESS RELEASE: Through Positive Eyes (September 15, 2019–February 16, 2020)
Through Positive Eyes is organized by the UCLA Art & Global Health Center with the Fowler Museum at UCLA and is 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; Stan Pressner, lighting designer; and Ross Levinson, soundscape composer. The exhibition is made possible by major funding from the Herb Ritts Foundation. It is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a gift from Elizabeth and Graeme Gilfillan in honor of Sarah Gilfillan.
The Through Positive Eyes project is codirected by David Gere and London-based South African photographer and AIDS activist Gideon Mendel.