Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Art activism in South Africa and the ethics of representation in a time of AIDS
Author:Allen, RikaISNI
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
visual arts
action groups
Abstract:In South Africa, art activism plays an important role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. During the last years the South African National Gallery (SANG) has staged several events where works of art were commissioned to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This article discusses how the activist strategies of the SANG draw on two distinct traditions when combatting the AIDS epidemic by means of art. These two traditions are found in the SANG's legacy in the resistance art movement during the fight against apartheid, and in the resources of its networking strategies with the AIDS activist movement in general, and more specifically the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). The article explores the different roots of 'artworks against AIDS' and highlights its findings with short overviews of the SANG's exhibitions held between 2001 and 2007. It also discusses how both the SANG and the TAC benefitted from the 'social movement spill-over effect' (Epstein 1996), which enabled them to use their previous activist structures and resources in order to embark on the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Although the art activist strategies are successful in getting the art world's attention to respond to the effects of HIV/AIDS, the article suggests that in light of the ever-changing landscape that characterizes the epidemic, art activists are challenged to continually reinvent their strategies of engagement. The need for an 'ethics of representational practices' that is sensitive to changes in the landscape, offers art activists a renewed basis from which to act when engaging with the complexities of mediating the realities of people's lived experiences in the time of HIV/AIDS. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]