|Photograph United States of America|
SHOW ME YOUR LIFE - Tim Barrus
United States of America
© Tim Barrus, 2011
WARNING: The visual poetry on this page may not be appropriate for all audiences, due to the explicit imagery and colloquial voices exploring the experiences of street kids to raise awareness of the social / cultural perceptions and behaviours that forced these kids onto the streets and held their lives in bondage. That was, until with sheer guts, intelligence and creativity they rescued themselves. The stories are not easy to share as either the speaker or the listener. We thank you for your witness, for your courage and for your loyalty towards those for whom you care deeply.
Professor Philip Goulder
(Pediatrician & Research Immunologist, University of Oxford)
We watch carefully the people who inspire us, and listen to the stories they tell us; what we learn from them shapes what we understand, how we feel and how we act in the world.
"witnesses of a time and of a place"
The problem of children living rough on the street looks pretty much the same around the world. There seems to be an entire generation of children who have raised themselves. Glue addiction is the most rapidly growing addiction in the world. It’s cheap and the high disguises cold and hunger.
Umthombo is a South African NGO that deals with the street children of Durban. They have a dynamic surfing program that is unlike any program anywhere. Urban street children who get to surf.
Umthombo gets children off the street. The children are often homeless, malnourished, and HIV positive.
Yet they are survivors. We will give a group of these children video cameras; we show them how to use the camera and then we say: show me your life.
We know what it means for children who live on the street from an adult point of view. But we have never seen it from the child’s eyes before.
I will work with these kids for a year of learning digital photography, and video. At the end of the year, we will print our own book, show our photographs, and make DVDs.
The purpose of the project is to share the art and skills of self-portraiture in video with homeless street children. The idea is not classical journalism. The idea is to allow homeless children an opportunity for creative expression. The children have a sophisticated understanding of their lives in ways no social worker could ever know. Making the videos can be a powerful thing for reflecting on yourself. We will exhibit the work on Real Stories Gallery — a conversation created by visual arts and stories, to shift perceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS.
Show Me Your Life will encapsulate the lives of children who live on the urban streets of South Africa in ways we have never seen before and cannot imagine today. In our promotional 'mashup' video below, I use the example of the San Francisco Arts Commission who conducted photography workshops for the homeless in skid row, in terms of how a successful program has worked before.
I am Tim Barrus
"Mash-up Witnesses of a Time and Place"
Creative Commons Act : Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Real Stories Gallery would like to thank The Studio/Cinematique Films, Tough Sunday Productions, Pepperoni Pictures and everyone else whose significant film-footage of witness has been remixed to reflect the dynamic and collaborative ‘mashup’ of our lives today : SHOW ME YOUR LIFE.
**Students are allowed access to fair use art materials and mixed media in the teaching of iconic manipulation in photographic, video and film production. Representations and facsimiles are presented as teaching tools and instruments employed to instruct students in the techniques and application of mixed media art and collage. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows art-teaching entities the fair use of such materials in classroom and teaching-research applications.
Thank You, on behalf of all the kids living in our communities who are eagerly waiting to jump into SHOW ME YOUR LIFE, for your support and friendship.
For further information please contact: Rachel Chapple.
(Founder and co-Ceo TechSoup Global)
I have watched Real Stories Gallery evolve from the outset - a pure vision encountering huge obstacles, but never wavering. The result is what you see: An inspiration to all of us, a path forward for our hearts and minds (and bodies) and a reminder of how technology is there to fulfill human creativity and meet human needs.
"AIDS Pieta For A New Generation" by Ernest Pignon-Ernest
show me your life/
i see the street through the burned grass/
the leaping of your body even as you sleep on concrete/
stretching for miles of their polished rooms/
all the places that refuse you/
here are the further and the further out rolling in an other dream/
your trailing out of night/
in the meantime the ride is backward into light and night/
private turns of makeshift chance/
the wilderness of some doorway/
your face at sea/
show me your life/
**example of the still's photography the kids will produce from their film footage
Tom Hewitt, M.B.E., CEO Umthombo Street Children
South Africa, like many other countries, is grappling with the fact that, due to various socio-economic situations, groups of children find themselves living on the streets, largely fending for themselves in order to survive. Durban has long been a city where homeless have been attracted, in part due to its warm climate. In the past the numbers of street children have been high but times are changing!
Umthombo is an organisation based in Durban, South Africa that empowers street children and aims to change the way that society perceives and treats them. Umthombo’s Durban model is pioneering the idea of providing alternatives to street life through engagement and therapeutic interventions and focuses on addressing the traumas associated with the children’s experiences. Umthombo’s team fuses social working professionals and trained former street children to bring a unique understanding of the realities of the street child experience and a relationship of trust and respect with the children.
Umthombo is also engaged in advocacy around key issues that relate to street children. Through campaigns it aims to demystify the urban phenomenon of street children, educate society as to the realities that these children face and to impact policy and decision making in relation to street children. Umthombo develops informed citywide strategy examples as a springboard to local debate and action. We are a fully registered section 21 company and non-profit organisation, founded in 1998 and formerly called the Durban Street Team. In 2005 it was renamed Umthombo Street Children.
Art For Humanity / Umthombo Banner Workshop: Art For Humanity holds ‘Art and Poetry Workshops’ at Umthombo. The boys (aged between 11-17) explore the words and images created by professional artists and poets on the theme of Human Rights and Social Justice. They share their thoughts and dreams and voices, through the accessible ‘medium’ of visual poetry and in the context of ideas set written in 1948 to form the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
European Press Agency (11/08/10): Umthombo’s surf program is turning heads. Children once seen as the “write-offs” living on the streets and sniffing glue outside the notorious Tong Lok, in Point, Durban are now seen, fit and healthy charging the waves at Durban’s premier surf-spot, the New Pier!
"Maelstrom" by Tim Barrus
Tim Barrus Founder of The Studio/Cinematique Films
A residential 24/7 art program that serves as a safe house protection des témoins pourles garçons adolescents with HIV/AIDS who are also at risk for psychological, neurological, and developmental disabilities due to sexual abuse, gang violence, addiction, human trafficking, and cyclical prostitution.
The boys are reached and educated through painting, music, photography, video, film, dance, poetry, mentoring, and intensive counseling.
The idea of a safe house is fundamentally based on the dynamics of protection from what brought them here. Witnesses of a time and of a place. While the boys are very connected to the outside world through the interactive use of technology, their contact with that world is monitored in such as way as to prevent contact and/or relationships with abusers, pedophiles, and people from their past who would harm them.
The boys are thusly encouraged to utilize such features as banning within the context of social networks. Communications with the boys that are deemed as sexual invites will be banned immediately. Stalking, either physical or electronic, will not be tolerated and is specifically prohibited by EU law. Stalking is defined by us as seeking contact with boys who have either banned people or have requested that they be left alone. Any subsequent attempt to either arrange to physically meet a boy or continue electronic communication is reported to EU authorities.
Attempts to communicate with the boys that involve asking them questions about their personal lives, histories, relationships, legal status, physical whereabouts, private email addresses, or sexual preferences are regarded as stalking and will be dealt with accordingly.
We are a SAFE environment where boys at risk learn to empower themselves through the self-actualization and educational modalities of art.
**The Studio / Cinematheque Films: Arts Education: Students are allowed access to fair use art materials and mixed media in the teaching of iconic manipulation in photographic, video and film production. Representations and facsimiles posted here are presented as teaching tools and instruments employed to instruct students in the techniques and application of mixed media art and collage. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act allows art-teaching entities the fair use of such materials in classroom and teaching-research applications.
**Please Note: No Boys were harmed by Tim Barrus during the creation and re-creation of his visual poetry.
Both the Center for Disease Control and the UN believe the problems of homelessness and the pandemic of HIV/AIDS are connected at the hip.
There are fifteen million people in UN Refugee camps. No one knows how many of them have HIV.
timothée barrus/ Shadowdancer Puppet
Maung is from Rangoon. This is his first video. He has lived most of his life in a refugee camp in Thailand.
It was his idea that the other children involved in Show Me Your Life (they will be from South Africa) might be shadowdancers, too.
For Maung, a shadowdancer is a puppet. Who is a human being. Who is a puppet. Who dances.
I do not know where Maung gets his ideas from. I do not know his culture well. I do know that life in the refugee camps along Thailand’s borders are hell to survive.
Maung would like to be a mentor in Show Me Your Life. After all, he’s made one video.
But he has shown here something of his life.
Maung is taking the characters of his life and he is putting them center stage. Out of the margins and out of the shadows so we might see what he sees.
This would be his life whether we understand that life or not.
I know little about the camps in Thailand. I know that one thing that haunts the shadows of the camps is HIV. I am here to learn. It is something of a dance, this, too; sometimes in shadows thick as jungleweed and guns.
Show me your life.
"Pietà For The AIDS Generation" by Ernest Pignon-Ernest (2002 © Art For Humanity)
Reality, always a mean son-of-a-bitch, dictates that it could be entirely possible that every child in this photograph could be infected with HIV, and not one of them would be receiving treatment.
The West has grown complacent and is stuck in denial.
Because the people with HIV do not matter to the men cutting budgets. Let us be real. We MUST start telling the stories of the people on the waiting lists. They are SUFFERING.
There are now long waiting lists (getting longer by the day) of people who cannot afford the antivirals we have so pinned our hopes to; that have lulled us into pretending that AIDS is no longer a problem.
The cost of these medications is criminal. Literally criminal. Corporations have conspired to keep the prices up. This is called price-fixing. But we do not prosecute corporate criminals. They work in nice offices in Lucerne and they have nice homes and they’re nice people.
Well, they work.
The stockholders and the boards of directors of Big Pharma should all be charged in the World Court with crimes against humanity.
I am very lucky to be working with the Umthombo street children in South Africa on the international SHOW ME YOUR LIFE street kids photography initiative. I am reminded every day, every time I see their images, that we cannot go backwards. It was hard enough to go forward. Telling the story of how we are slipping back into the pandemic past is a story that must get out there. This is the cutting edge. The face of AIDS again. It never went away. I see this work as making a connection between American culture and South African culture where the THEME of NOT SLIPPING BACK INTO THE PAST is is in my FACE. And urgent.
"The Morphine Hour" by Tim Barrus
"Children Who Will Dance In Rain" by Tim Barrus
Sometimes I think I am insane.
Why would anyone sane adopt a child with AIDS?
It terrifies me to write this story. I am afraid. I am afraid of dragons.
I am afraid of losing my mind. I want something no one is allowed to have.
I want the mad ones. The children mad enough to struggle and survive. I want the children who have seen war. The children mad enough to question everything. The children who have had everything taken away from them. The children who are broken and mad enough to attempt to repair themselves. The children mad enough to spit and fight. Mad enough to laugh outrageously. Mad enough to make a music of their own. Mad enough to see themselves as individuals. I want children who will dance in rain. I want the mad crazy ones. I want the ones insane enough to love hard, and brave enough to be vulnerable.
I do not know where this story begins.
I am haunted by deep, electric flashes of music, memory, dragons and madness.
(**no boys were harmed in the creation of this visual poetry)
Show Me Your Life is about articulating in symbols the inner lives street kids have that flames inside them.
To that end, (show me, don’t tell me) Cinematheque and I make videos that articulate and symbolize my own inner life that I struggle to hang onto.
The flame burns hard.
The man in the video is watching his own life unfold around him.
On the wall behind him is the art his students make.
I am in the car you see in the video, and I am getting out of Dodge.
I try to leave before they kick me out (I failed at Facebook, I fail all the time, we all fail).
The man being pulled by a rope is me being pulled by life, through dirt and scrape-ups I do not want to endure.
But I still cling to the rope.
I am always going down in flames.
Most people find me dangerous and they have to step back.
People who do this are people I have no time for.
The flames are only flames.
The rope itself becomes my life.
I am still clinging to the rope.
I refuse to let go.
I will not give the suits the satisfaction.
I am strong and tenacious.
I am not a teacher.
I am a teacher.
I am not a teacher.
I am a student.
I am not a student.
I am a student.
I want to see the flames inside you.
Show me your life.
(**no boys were harmed in the creation of this visual poetry)
People don’t get it. They become burning wrecks of tendons about the boys.
Put the boys away, they demand.
But the boys are all my sons.
One I lost and mourn for his sanity in an insane world.
The bedclothes of history. Masturbation is a rope around your neck.
Like art, it churns the crumble from the walls.
Show Me Your Life is to know there is one in the night skies, where gods have lost their way.
I live with their sounds, so growing thin that over time the purity of despair is all that remains.
People accuse me and claim it’s all about the sex.
Erotic asphyxiation isn’t sex even for them, anymore than hanging tears the wind apart.
The ones who hang themselves, even with diseases, are only twisting in it.
The wind that should have been, begins to resemble ourselves distributed and torn from proof.
The world only buzzes.
Suddenly, we are impotent and coming everywhere.
(**no boys were harmed in the creation of this visual poetry)
"Every mother Hobo is my mother" by Nise Malange (poet, South Africa; © Art For Humanity)
I was born under the bridge of the harbour
Ngizalwe ngaphansi kwebholoho nginenyumoniya
"This Is My Story" by Marjorie Maleka (artist, South Africa; © Art For Humanity)
**some people believe if an HIV infected man has sex with a virgin he will be cleansed of HIV. This is a lie. Believed by people who are so desperate to live that they will do anything, no matter how ridiculous and inhumane. The man will remain infected and the child will be HURT, and will also become infected with HIV.
"Mary Mother of No-One" by Lindiwe Nkutha (poet, South Africa; © Art For Humanity)
Yet again unfounded myths
"Where are the Cows?" by Beverley Samler (artist, South Africa; © Art For Humanity)
"Looking up" by Finuala Dowling (poet, South Africa; © Art For Humanity)
The moment before you died
Professor Paul Webley
(Director, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London)
Stories and narratives help define who we are, and help us understand our world and what it means to be human. And the stories on the magnificent Real Stories Gallery will do all that - but will also have an impact on the world, and help reduce the spread of HIV.
"The Story Told" by Mphutlane Wa Bofelo (poet, South Africa)
Author's note: the poem illustrates the denialism that is fueled by stigma within the community, making people to resort to blaming witchcraft and everything else for the deaths of the victims of AIDS instead of facing the truth. It also makes a statement about extra marital unprotected sexual intercourse as one of the major causes for the spread of HIV / AIDS.
June's baby died because
Professor Andrew Tomkins, CICH
(Institute of Child Health, University of London)
Working with children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS involves pain and passion but words are often inadequate to express the deepest feelings and responses. Art and poetry however often communicate in deeper ways reaching our inner lives to bring truth and realisation. They also release new strength for respect, care and compassion.
Every One Living Today
Was Once Upon A Time
Tim Barrus/ in rooms
There are only two member countries at the United Nations that refuse to ratify the International Rights of the Child.
Those countries would be Somalia, and the United States of America.
talk to me of body counts
where the angles of it
sensing death’s accord
takes his hand and pulls the boy
by his lifetime
across the threshold of a hundred years of pandemic’s voices singing champion/
Rachel Chapple, PhD, Founder of Real Stories Gallery
Kids hidden in plain sight within our communities are coming together to share their worldview with us all. Their images and words, their eyes and ears, their witness, will compel us to FEEL – imagine, empathize and care. SHOW ME YOUR LIFE will enable these kids to stroll into our lives. Just like that... Real Stories Gallery is delighted to be working with the contemporary visual artist and poet Tim Barrus & The Boys. We urge adults to join us, to ensure kids voices are both heard and responded to by humanity's enormous creativity AND capacity to heal deep wounds and to shift the cruelty of perceptions and actions that embrace the lives of those most vulnerable within our international social and professional communities. Our motivation as adults to seize what is possible with today's technologies and to facilitate SHOW ME YOUR LIFE, will come from our small voice of conscience and our collective desire to offer all of our children and grandchildren a profound gift ,when they reach into our eyes with the wonder of theirs and ask, as children with the benefit of hindsight are want to do: "What did our family and friends do exactly?"
Kids Grow Into Adults
"Pietà For The AIDS Generation" by Ernest Pignon-Ernest (2002 © Art For Humanity, Taschen)
Commissioned by the French Institute, the artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest worked on a collaborative HIV/AIDS awareness project with Jan Jordaan (Director of Art For Humanity) and the printmaking students at D.U.T. A life-size charcoal drawing of a black woman carrying a dying man, was printed on newsprint and 100 posters were positioned throughout the Market and Warwick Triangle areas in Durban, South Africa. The artworks served as a catalyst for individual and community reflection and discussion, within an environment of fear and shame to speak openly about the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has scourged through their communities leaving lives and dreams ripped apart.
"A Fire in My Belly," by © David Wojnarowicz (visual poet, USA)
Tim Barrus (visual poet, USA)
The living will be to blame, and history if there is one will see us accordingly
"The Portraiture of Our Lives," by Rachel Chapple, PhD (anthropologist; Founder, Real Stories Gallery)
The SMITHSONIAN Institute decided to remove Mr David Wojnarowicz’s art piece A Fire In My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture after lobbying from anti-homosexual and church groups.
Wendy Olsoff, from the PPOW Gallery in NYC, who oversees and is responsible for the David Wojnarowicz estate, reflected on how the uproar surrounding the SMITHSONIAN's censorship reminds her of the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. “It saddened me enormously,” Olsoff told AOL News by phone. “This is about fear, fear of diversity. People are trying to use art to scare the public.” Olsoff said the controversy over the video was ironic. The piece, she said, was about “the great sadness of people around him suffering without help from anyone.” She said it was not anti-Christian. “David was a very compassionate person and he was angry, and not afraid of anger. It was a very spiritual piece.”
On January 31, 2011 the SMITHSONIAN Institution’s Board of Regents met to discuss the fall out from the censorship controversy. The panelists included Regent John McCarter, president of the Field Museum in Chicago and chair of the panel, Earl "Rusty" Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art, and David Gergen, former presidential adviser and CNN analyst.
McCarter, along with Board of Regents chair Patty Stonesifer and Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, discussed their findings, which focused primarily on ways to head off future controversies through more effective communication. One notable recommendation: "In the absence of actual error, changes to exhibitions should not be made once an exhibition opens without meaningful consultation with the curator, director, Secretary, and the leadership of the Board of Regents." The report notes that by avoiding controversial issues, the Smithsonian's reputation could be diminished. "We're in the business of often doing exhibits that are about flash points in American history, flash points in American culture, and we have to accept that with that responsibility comes some controversy," said Stonesifer, "We don't want curators or directors or others to think that 'above all, avoid controversy.'"
The REAL CONTROVERSY here is that adults, who hold tremendous power to shape perceptions within our expanding international social and professional communities, are turning their backs on millions of men, women, adolescents and children experiencing appalling isolation and physical pain. And they are justifying their actions of censorship, by placing their highly visible conversation about Mr Wojnarowicz's art work within a protective theoretical framework that posits: what art works message and how they are read is multiple and complex, and therefore to act fairly and justly all views should be acknowledged in some sort of conceptual egalitarian fashion. Given the very distinct filters of censorship and funding that determine and maintain the Smithsonian Institution, this is very mean spirited and irresponsible behaviour. It instantly, just like that, stamps on humanities compassion and common sense, and allows for unspeakable human rights abuses taking place as a direct result of socially and culturally constructed thoughts and actions, to continue unchallenged by an influential outfit.
One man, Mr Wojnarowicz, has courageously spoken as loudly and as clearly as he was able, and in the only way he knew how – through the extraordinarily powerful medium of visual art. His art work reflects the portraiture of our lives and calls to our small voice of conscience. It compels us to stand up and to speak clearly, so we may dispel wrong doing and protect the lives of innocent people. If that is not good art, I have no idea what is.
I believe today work that reflects the portraiture of our lives and calls to humanity to respond with common sense and compassion, should be rescued from the embrace of guardians who are not thinking clearly and/or feel unnerved. From a home, in this case the Smithsonian, in which the Regents have chosen not to take a deep breath and seize the opportunity, afforded them by Mr Wojnarowicz’s art piece, to speak out and offer protection to a remarkable voice raising awareness of the plight of millions of human beings TODAY. The Smithsonian has the power to encourage a moment of reflection, born through imagination and empathy, on who we are and who we would like to be. I am left feeling saddened and simultaneously relieved that Mr Wojnarwicz's art piece has been rescued from such an abusive home environment.
The conversations surrounding the Smithsonian Institute’s censorship of David's work, serves as a warning and wake-up call to contemporary artists. It demands for them to be silent and thereby support the Smithsonian’s leadership. Or, to reflect with the empathy of an artist on the tension they may experience between their individual desire for their art work to be exhibited in a prestigious and influential cultural house of art, and that of their small voice of conscience calling to them to do something to protect a colleague's work. I believe if artists come together they will gain strength by doing what artists have historically always done so well - CREATE and reflect and influence. I believe, if artists harness their powerful imaginations, their nerve and their ability to realize something astonishing out of extremely limited resources, they will enable a space, a home perhaps employing today's technologies, to protect highly creative work reflecting the portraiture of our lives and, so doing, afford such work the respect and dignity it deserves. It appears what we perceive and how we behave when confronted with an art work, so often reflects what we perceive and how we behave towards another human being…
“The Portraiture of Poets: AIDS Pietà” by Jan Jordaan (Director, Art For Humanity)
Today our communities have so greatly expanded, in large part due to new technologies that allow words and images created in one place to travel quickly into another, so they may influence thoughts and actions in new and exciting ways. When art works and stories, which have played such a significant role throughout history are shared around the world, it allows us to introduce ourselves to each other, to express and reflect on our identities, and make connections so we may cross-fertilize ideas and knowledge and support. The arts encourage us to feel.
Today I am deeply saddened when I look around me at the suffering caused by HIV/AIDS within the community I have lived in for the last sixty years. Today as a father and art lecturer I feel compelled to speak out in the only way I know how – through my print making, to raise awareness of the often insidious and silent abuse surrounding the social transmission of HIV and the thoughts and actions towards those infected and infected by the virus.
In 2002, I had the privileged of working with the artist Pignon-Ernest, in my capacity as Director of Art For Humanity and Fine Art Lecturer at the Durban Institute of Technology (DUT). Ernest Pignon-Ernest, the man who was the prime motivator behind the 'Artists Against Apartheid' exhibition, had been sponsored by the French Institute under the directorship of Catherine Blondeau, for an HIV/AIDS Awareness project in collaboration with the students from the Printmaking Department at DUT.
Pignon-Ernest created an AIDS Pietà consisting of a life-size charcoal drawing of a black woman carrying the body of a man. This was in part influenced by the photograph taken by Samuel Nzima of Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying Hector Peterson, who was shot in the '76 Soweto Uprising; an image that South Africans easily recognize. It also plays on Kevin Brand's "Pietà" that was a reconstruction of the Nzima photograph on the wall of the Cape Town castle. And, it references the imagery and stories flowing from the teachings of Christianity; in particular the stories of the violence and the compassion surrounding the crucifixion that has influenced so many artworks through the years. To South Africans, these images are powerful metaphors that tell the story of our history.
Pignon-Ernest drew a life-size charcoal image of a black woman carrying the body of a man. One hundred large posters of this were put up all around in Durban and Soweto in places where people do not expect to see art. The Pietà has always spoke to suffering and care in the broadest sense, and now specifically in a South African local context. The local inhabitants of the area began to claim the image, some moving their goods so it was more visible.
The reality of HIV/AIDS in the lives of South Africans allowed Pignon-Ernest’s work itself to speak to the image of a scourge ripping through the places that we live. Placing his full-size Pietà image within numerous everyday public spaces, encouraged men, women and children to reflect on how we feel and behave towards our neighbours during this period of heightened danger, cruelty and fear. It has also, as with all good art that speaks so directly and serves as a significant catalyst for conversation to heal and to shift perceptions, become an important historical document reflecting suffering, and loss of life.
News travels quickly today. I recently watched the contemporary art piece “A Fire In My Belly” created by Mr David Wojnarowicz. This is a 20 minute 8mm film piece, created by a man who was dying of AIDS, and expresses the violence of human thought and action, and the pain and despair experienced by millions of people whose lives affected by the disease. I was deeply touched, and compelled to reflect on how social and cultural perceptions towards HIV/AIDS has played such a significant role in allowing the virus to become a pandemic. Which has given rise to a scream of images calling for awareness and compassion that have been created by artists such as Ernest Pignon-Ernest and David Wojnarowicz.
I felt saddened to hear the news that the prestigious and influential Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. had chosen to remove the Wojnarowicz’s art piece from their current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. The message their decision transmits is extremely unhelpful in a moment in time when artists are fighting to protect those they care for so deeply. I urge all those who hold positions of power to determine the public display of important works of art such as “A Fire In My Belly,” to facilitate for their exhibition in the knowledge that works of art serve as important catalysts to encourage and promote conversation.
Here, a conversation about HIV/AIDS that will shift discriminatory perceptions, feelings of isolation and despair, and give birth to an expanded community of ideas we may cross-fertilize, as we reach out to support each other during this time when too many people are still dying. Such a conversation will affect innocent millions.
(Artist; The Bag Factory, Triangle International Artists' Workshop, South Africa)
Together our visual documents on Real Stories Gallery, our collective conscience and desire for social justice, will bring about change; a new culture created by ordinary people who share an ordinary vision - that it is possible today for everyone to have access to lifesaving HIV prevention and health care, to live with dignity and respect. As an artist who has experienced astonishing changes within the communities surrounding me, I urge you to reach out and look around you with the empathy and reflection of an artist, and return to share your work with us all on Real Stories Gallery.
(Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1984, South Africa)
No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity--or because of their sexual orientation… Let us harness the power of our humanity and our enormous capacity for creativity, to mobilize our imaginations and weave together through our stories on Real Stories Gallery, a vision that we shall reach for which will influence our thoughts and actions towards our kin.
God Bless You
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948
"surfing the sidewalks" by Tim Barrus
"Einstein’s Kids. Hidden in Plain Sight : Defying the Laws of Perception" Rachel Chapple
Considerable practice, skill and nerve is required to master life on a skateboard. The important lesson a skateboarder learns is KNOWING, he will never go higher than he can when jumping straight up from a standing position. The higher you can jump the higher you can fly.
In the 1950s a number of southern Californian surfers, impatient for good surf to come up, decided to surf the sidewalks in their communities. Their fitness and mental strength, their skilled judgment of speed, stomp, kick and jump on a bent-up tail board with wheels, allowed them to appear to defy the laws of physics with a maneuver named the ollie, after it's inventor Allen Ollie Gelfand.
An expert olliemeister allows no crack of light to show between his feet and the board. This is achieved through a creative and complex interaction of thought and practice. The result grabs the attention of the witness and leaves them reflecting on what they have seen and heard.
Once a person masters the ollie, he can use it as the basis for any number of skateboarding tricks. The nollie, grind, heelflip, kickflip, ollieflip, pop shov-it, shov-it kick flip, casper, melloncollie, McTwist, tailslide, wheelslide, lipslide, indygrab or wallride, so on and so on. All seem to involve life in midair, as they are performed on the walls and streets and curbs in our neighbourhoods.