University Art Gallery holding AIDS awareness exhibit

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, more commonly known as AIDS, is an epidemic that has become taboo to talk about in most societies. But the University Art Gallery is going against these prejudices to bring AIDS awareness to campus.

On Thursday, the gallery will be holding a reception for the opening of the exhibit, "Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985-2010" from 4 to 6 p.m.

"This exhibit is to increase AIDS awareness and public health," Gallery Director Anne Gochenour said.

The collection of 149 posters was organized by Elizabeth Resnick and Javier Cortés of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design-Boston, along with collector James Lapides, and sent tightly bound and packed to Central Michigan Universities own art gallery.

"(Lapides) bought a collection of AIDS awareness posters and then dedicated himself to collecting more, in the hopes that someday a museum would buy the collection to display to the public," Gochenour said.

The collection Lapides has gathered, along with donations from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, is now a traveling exhibit that is making a month-long stop at the University Art Gallery.

In this exhibit there are posters from all over the world and has been set up so that the gallery visitors can travel from country to country, starting off in Africa and making their way to Europe.

"From Papua New Guinea to Denmark to Venezuela to Morocco to the United States, these posters demonstrate the variety of approaches used for discussion of a socially complex subject and champion pertinent sociopolitical issues, (such as) disease research and eradication, world health, international relations, sex education, social prejudices and discrimination," Gochenour said in an email. "These posters represent the most profound use of posters to inform the public since World War II."

In today's world AIDS isn't the most comfortable topic, but Gochenour, along with many others, believes it is a "big deal" that needs a bit more light shed upon it. And that is what this exhibit was designed to do.

Gochenour said, "Some people think, 'it's someone else's problem, not mine, 'but it's everyone's problem."


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