Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rebound: 20 years of HIV in London

'Rebound', the UK's first exhibition examining the changing perception of HIV in London over the last 20 years, will be shown at Wellcome Collection - a new cultural venue on London's Euston Road - between 11 and 28 October, and will reveal the sketches and diary notes of artist Paul Ryan. The materials provide a compelling insight into the HIV epidemic in London from 1987, when the first clear information about the disease emerged, to 2007, by which time successful treatments have been established.

The title of the exhibition - 'Rebound' - refers to the experience of declining health and hopes of those affected by HIV, which hit a low point in the mid 1990s before 'rebounding' to restored health for many and optimism for the future. A recurrent theme of the exhibition is 'intimacy' and the barriers that HIV positive people face when disclosing their status.

The 20-year period will be represented by a wall-mounted, linear, chronological display of notebooks. Larger drawings will sit alongside a specially commissioned wall drawing.

"The sketchbooks have become a bit of a habit, but hopefully a useful one," explains Paul Ryan. "They map out 25 years of my adult life in a way my mind couldn't, and help to jog my inner memories too. Exhibiting them in Wellcome Collection frames these personal accounts in a medical context, rather than a conventional art gallery, picking out the themes of HIV in London. It is always important to remember the connection between how illness and medicine make us 'feel', as much as the 'look' of the science."

Clare Matterson, Wellcome Trust Director of Medicine, Society and History comments: "'Rebound' looks closely at the shift from pessimism to optimism for the treatment of HIV patients. The sketchbooks show a clear narrative on how people face up to the realities of their status, and the reactions for those around them."

AIDS and HIV have affected Londoners in changing ways over the last two decades. The numbers of people diagnosed continues to rise. Between 2001 and 2005, new HIV diagnosis increased by 14 per cent. In 2005, the number of people accessing NHS care for HIV who lived in London was 22 236, which was a 12 per cent increase from 2004.*

Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust said: “So much has happened since the start of the HIV epidemic 25 years ago. Remembering the people who have played their part in this story so far is vitally important. London has been the epicentre of the UK’s epidemic, and this exhibition will provide a fascinating personal perspective.”

To coincide with Paul Ryan's solo exhibition at Wellcome Collection, the artist will be talking with Dr Jane Anderson (Director for the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust), and Angelina Namiba – Policy and Involvement Manager at Positively Women - about how lives, treatments and feelings have changed over the last two decades. Together with the audience they will not only recall these changes but also mark out what HIV means in London today and what it might mean in the future. This event will take place on Saturday 27 October, 15.00-16.30.

To book this free event, please visit the Wellcome Collection website or call or call 020 7611 2222.

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road, London
11 to 28 October.
opening times:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10:00–18:00,
Thursday 10:00–22:00
Sunday 11:00–18:00.
Wellcome Collection

*Statistical information for Terrence Higgins Trust (July 2007).

1 comment:

shark said...

The medicine industry is developing,but why meanwhile the rate of new diagnosed HIV case are increasing, i think we should find some reasons from ourselves. someone on insists this attribute to unconciousness of people toward HIV, yes,i agree, i think the government should hold such kind of exhibition as frequent as possible to remind our people that there would be something bad if we don't pay enough attention!