Lehigh Pride Center and LUAG are proud to partner with Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2023 by presenting Everyone I Know Is Sick, a program of five videos generating connections between HIV and other forms of illness and disability.
The program features newly commissioned work by Dorothy Cheung (Hong Kong), Hiura Fernandes & Lili Nascimento (Brazil), Beau Gomez (Canada/Philippines), Dolissa Medina & Ananias P. Soria (USA), and Kurt Weston (USA).
Inspired by a statement from Cyrée Jarelle Johnson in the book Black Futures, Everyone I Know Is Sick examines how our society excludes disabled and sick people by upholding a false dichotomy of health and sickness. Inviting us to understand disability as a common experience rather than an exception to the norm, the program highlights a range of experiences spanning HIV, COVID, mental health, and aging. The commissioned artists foreground the knowledge and expertise of disabled and sick people in a world still grappling with multiple ongoing pandemics.
Join us for lunch and a screening of Everyone I Know Is Sick, presented by Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2023.
Register in advance here.
Visual AIDS is a New York-based non-profit that utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.
Dolissa Medina and Ananias P. Soria, Viejito/Enfermito/Grito (Old Man/Sick Man/Shout)
Ananias, a San Francisco Bay Area artist and immigrant, performs the folkloric Danza de los Viejitos (the Dance of the Old Men). Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, where the dance originates, Ananias interprets its movements through the lens of his spirituality, his long-term HIV-related disabilities, and his search for a place in the world.
Dorothy Cheung, Heart Murmurs
Heart Murmurs is a poetic dialogue between the filmmaker and Dean, a young man living in Hong Kong. In reflecting on his experience living with a congenital disability and HIV during the first years of the COVID pandemic, Dean expresses his sense of self in the face of regular medical challenges.
Beau Gomez, This Bed I Made
This Bed I Made presents the bed as a place of solace and agency beyond just a site of illness or isolation. Through the shared stories of two Filipino men living with HIV, the video explores modes of care, restoration, and abundance in the midst of pandemic pervasion.
Kurt Weston, Losing the Light
Losing the Light reflects the artist’s bitter battle to stay in this world as a long-term survivor of AIDS who has lost his vision to CMV retinitis. An experimental self-portrait, the video evokes the dissolution and fragmentation of the artist's body, representing the impact of blindness, long-term HIV infection, and the cumulative effects of decades of antiretroviral medication.
Lili Nascimento and Hiura Fernandes, Aquela criança com AID$ (That Child with AID$)
That Child with AID$ tells the story of Brazilian advocate and artist Lili Nascimento, who was born with HIV in 1990. Lili has worked to expand narratives about living with HIV beyond the limited images and ideologies that permeate the AIDS industry.
Dorothy Cheung (she/her) is a filmmaker and artist currently based in Hong Kong. Her practice explores the notion of identities and home through dual perspectives: the personal and the political, memory and forgetfulness. Her moving-image works have been exhibited internationally at Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art), EYE Filmmuseum, and Korzo Theater, and selected for film festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Leeds International Film Festival, Seoul Women’s Film Festival, South Taiwan Film Festival and Queer Lisboa.
Hiura Fernandes (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist, cultural producer, and product designer living in João Pessoa, Brazil. Her audiovisual and performance work seeks to unite the body with cinematographic practices. Her work considers original forms of communication through the body and ancestrality as pathways to healing and embodied living. As a Black travesti, she experiences in her body and in her art the stereotypes of counter-hegemonic experiences. She seeks to understand the expressions of the body as a power capable of generating love, fear, anguish, and hate.
Beau Gomez (he/him) is a visual artist based in Montréal and Toronto whose practice is informed by ideas, challenges and conversations around cross-cultural narratives, as they relate to positions of queerness and community. His work is grounded in image-making as a conduit between individual and collective experience, giving permission to shared means of learning, nurturing, and renewal. He has exhibited projects and engaged in discourse surrounding image arts and community-building practices in various establishments, including VU Photo, Artspace Gallery, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Reel Asian, Toronto International Film Festival, and Critical Distance Centre for Curators.
Dolissa Medina (she/her) and Ananias P. Soria (he/him) are the current incarnation of Grito Viejito, an artist collective devoted to queer world-mending through the adaptation of the Mexican folkloric “Danza de los Viejitos” (Dance of the Old Men). Medina, a filmmaker, writer, and organizer from the borderlands of South Texas, founded the research-creation project, which uses the Viejito figure as a vessel to hold dialogues around health, HIV histories, and queer futures. In the project’s first iteration, Medina partners with Soria, a multidisciplinary artist interested in transformative energetic expression through movement, music, and dance.
Lili Nascimento (they/them) is a transpersonal psychologist, columnist, and artist who studies and works with children living with HIV and AIDS in Brazil. They work at the intersection of art and the clinic, provoking poetic and political possibilities for existence.
Kurt Weston (he/him) is an artist working primarily with photography. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991 and became legally blind in 1996 due to a related condition, Cytomegalovirus retinitis. For a time he was easily identified as having AIDS due to purplish red lesions—Kaposi’s sarcoma—all over his face and body. His artwork reflects on this experience of visibility and disability, examining cultural stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS, the disabled body, mortality, and loss. Weston’s photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the National AIDS Museum and have been featured in exhibitions at the Kennedy Center for the Arts (Washington, DC), the Berkeley Art Museum (Berkeley, CA), and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Santa Ana, CA), among others.