HIV charity Positive East has opened a limited-edition digital t-shirt shop featuring the artwork of 14 local and international artists, including Wolfgang Tillmans, Sunil Gupta, Wednesday Holmes, Kai Isaiah Jamal and many more to raise awareness of, and funding for, the charity’s essential HIV support services.
The artists were invited to participate based on their ongoing commitment to tackling social injustice and promoting LGBTQ+ equality and the fight against HIV stigma. All artworks included are original commissions or were especially selected for this project, and include spoken word, photography, photomontage, illustration, graphic design and painting.
Contributing artists include:
Wolfgang Tillmans, Lubaina Himid, AA Bronson/General Idea, Hatty Carman, Sunil Gupta, John Walter, Linder, Wednesday Holmes, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Jack Hughes, Fredrik Andersson, Alex Mein, Kai Isaiah Jamal and Joy Yamusangie.
All tees are printed ethically (Fare Ware, GOTS, Vegan) and the shop will remain open from 30th October 2020 to 1st January 2021. Each tee will retail for £30 available via https://positiveeastpopup.org.uk/collections/all and 100% of proceeds will remain with Positive East.
In addition to raising essential funding for the Charity, the project seeks to explore the intersection between HIV activism and the visual arts and how artistic expression has helped shape the cultural and political response to HIV, from the pandemic’s origins in 1981 right up to today.
During this period, artists’ responses to HIV have been diverse – reflecting the experiences of people and communities living with HIV, both intimate and collective. Creative and activist engagements with HIV have highlighted and strengthened urgent political and social struggles and as prevention and treatment developed, to celebrating advancements and hope.
Mark Santos, Director of Positive East remarked, “Through this collaborative project, we wish to make a small but meaningful contribution to the dialogue between HIV and cultural expression, while helping to raise awareness of our mission to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities affected by HIV, all while we live under the shadow of yet another global pandemic – COVID-19.”
COVID-19 has exacerbated an already difficult situation, i.e. poverty, poor housing, isolation and loneliness, for the individuals that Positive East supports. Demand for the Charity’s services continues to increase daily, against a backdrop of service delivery restrictions. COVID-19 has also severely impacted Positive East financially, primarily due to the cancellation of all community fundraising events this year.
This project will allow Positive East to raise the vital funding required to continue delivering essential HIV support and prevention services to 4,000 community members every year.