Saturday, August 28, 2010

Keynote Lecture about Through Positive Eyes

      Putting yourself in the shoes of someone living with HIV and seeing the world through their eyes.  Doing this can help an HIV-negative overcome their stigma of HIV and HIV testing, and it can help an person living with HIV know that they are not alone, and can have a long happy life ahead of them.  This is the purpose of the international photography project Through Positive Eyes.
     It was also the topic of Dr. David Gere's keynote lecture at the second day of the Drama For Life Conference.  Dr. Gere is the co-director of the project with South African born and London based photographer Gideon Mendel. Dr. Gere spoke about encouraging empathy for people living with HIV around the world (the project has been done in Mexico City, Rio De Janeiro, and most recently Johannesburg.)  This empathy is reached by offering first person interactions with the HIV-positive participant photographers who share how they see through the world through images and first-person narrative.

CIDA from Through Positive Eyes on Vimeo.
      Sitting in the audience, listening to Dr. Gere's lecture, right next to Hanni Ress, was quite the full circle moment. Dr. Gere is the director of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS where I now work, and where Hanni used to work. My first interactions with HIV activism happened when I was a student working on a project in Los Angeles with Dr. Gere and Mendel that would later give birth to the modern form of Through Positive Eyes. It was coordinated by Ress and called HIV Positive in LA: 12 Stories.  Sitting together three years later at Wits University in Johannesburg, and having a moment to reflect on where the project has come was really remarkable.


1 comment:

  1. Awwww... it was a deeply moving moment for me too... especially for me to be sitting next to you :) From student journalist for HIV in LA and 48 Hours to Action performer to taking MA/SA and TPE around the world, you are an inspiration bobby g - was so great having you here! PLEASE COME BACK SOON!!! xx