Increasing visibility and participation of Indigenous peoples at AIDS 2014 and creating a cultural legacy beyond the conferenceadmin
Increasing visibility and participation of Indigenous peoples at AIDS 2014 and creating a cultural legacy beyond the conference
HIV Australia | Vol. 13 No. 3 | December 2015
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this article of HIV Australia contains names of people who have passed away.
By Michael Costello-Czok
In July 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) and the International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS were held in Australia for the very first time.
Planning and development of AIDS 2014 and affiliated events sought to ensure greater visibility and participation of Indigenous peoples.
Leading up to AIDS 2014, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives working in HIV partnered with the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV and AIDS (IIWGHA) to establish the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organising Committee (AATSIOC).1
Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, the Committee enabled effective coordination of a range of activities throughout AIDS 2014.
But beyond AIDS 2014, the relationships formed are a conference legacy that will support and sustain our work into the future.
Our Story, Our Time, Our Future
The International Indigenous Preconference on HIV & AIDS was held in Sydney from 17 to 19 July 2014, just prior to AIDS 2014. The Pre-conference theme of Our Story, Our Time, Our Future, was developed to capture the spirit of Indigenous world views, our cyclical approach to eternal life, our ways of learning and sharing knowledge and the importance of future generations and custodianship of our traditional lands.
The Pre-conference attracted close to 300 delegates, including large numbers of people living with HIV, elders and youth. More than 100 of the delegates went on to attend AIDS 2014 in Melbourne.
Other significant AIDS 2014 initiatives included coordination of the Indigenous Peoples Networking Zone at the conference venue in Melbourne, development and launch of the Eora Action Plan on HIV 2014, establishment Strait HIV Youth Mob (ANTHYM), and launch of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, to coincide with World AIDS Day each year from 2014 to 2017.
One Handprint tells many stories
As part of these activities, a major exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art was launched at the Indigenous Pre-conference. The HANDPRINTS exhibition brought together the work of nine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from each Australian state and territory, including the Torres Strait Islands.
Each artist was commissioned to create an artwork that incorporated personal and community stories relating to the impact of HIV.
Community Hands, Tristan Templar, Tas.
HANDPRINTS was designed to promote a broader understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as part of the HIV response. Our ancestors’ use of handprints and ochre has long recorded our history, our presence and our life journeys.
Our art and storytelling are intrinsically linked to our cultures. Our art describes our Dreaming – our creation, our land, our people, our wildlife, our totems and our journey together.
The project incorporated a groundbreaking approach to HIV education and prevention through an art exhibition, sharing diverse stories about the impact of HIV and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Artists were excited and enthusiastic to be involved with this project, with many of the artists expressing interest in creating more art for HIV education and prevention work.
Following its fantastic reception at the Sydney International Indigenous Pre-conference and at AIDS 2014 in Melbourne, HANDPRINTS is now being incorporated into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, with the artworks being utilised as HIV health promotion and educational resources and exhibited nationally.
The following artists were engaged in the HANDPRINTS project:
- Arone Meeks, QLD: ‘I am not the problem’ our journey through HIV
- De Greer-Yindimincarlie, NSW: Shayme
- Jukuja Dolly Snell, WA: Kurtal
- Nicky Newley-Guivarra (Nigooli), Torres Strait: It’s Ok
- Patrick Ahkit, NT: HIV and the Power of ‘Connection’ We are Never Alone
- Peter Waples-Crowe, VIC: Koori Threats and Resistance
- Raymond Zada, SA: Looking East
- Tristan Templar, Tas: Community Hands
- Uncle Jim Boza Williams, ACT: Bogan Moth.
This year, HANDPRINTS will be exhibited in the Foyer of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), allowing the artwork to be exhibited for the first time in Adelaide.
Location: foyer of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute North Terrace.
When: Monday 23 November to Friday 4 December, 2015.
Open daily from 9am–5pm. Admission is free.
The HANDPRINTS project is generously funded by the Australian Government – Department of Health.
Michael Costello-Czok is Executive Officer of the ANA and a guest editor of HIV Australia.
1 James Ward, Convenor – South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute; Michael Costello-Czok, Co-convenor – Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA); Neville Fazulla – Positive Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN); Michelle Tobin – ANA; Mark Saunders – National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO); Brett Mooney – Torres Strait and AIDS Council Representative; James Saunders – Aboriginal Nations and Torres Strait Islander HIV Youth Mob (ANTHYM); Sallie Cairnduff and Darren Braun – Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC); Kat Byron and Peter Waples-Crowe – Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO); Meggan Gross and Victor Tawil – NSW Health; Trevor Stratton IIWGHA Co-ordinator; Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN).