Bon Voyage, Tom : Part 1



Art for Aids was founded in 1996 by a collective of artists who were left devastated after some of their loved ones had been killed by AIDs. In the mere two decades of its existence, Art for AIDs has raised over two million dollars that has been dedicated throughout its years to research and therapy centers for those who have contracted the virus (San Francisco Bay Times).

Other institutions have employed comedic rhetoric in their artwork in attempts to convey the message that AIDs is no longer a definitive death sentence. In one of his pieces, Keith Haring paints the ‘condom man’ to promote the importance of safe sex. He was able to make light of a topic that is usually seen as grave and looming while reminding people of the dangers of unprotected sex (Hans). This shows how the use of art as a social justice platform has evolved during its existence. The movement has shifted from broadcasting a serious, urgent message to exhibiting satire to convey the idea that AIDs no longer has to be viewed as a threat to human existence (Hans).

An organization that has contributed greatly to the cause and is one of the largest collection of artists is a group called Visual Aids. This clever play on words is yet another attempt by the artistic community to liberate those who are HIV positive from the stigma that they are doomed to die of AIDs . The founders of this institution have used their platform to promote the work of independent artists who have become inspired by the sentiments of the movement (Visual AIDs).