ENUF Already: stories of resilience told through artistic collaboration

ENUF Already: stories of resilience told through artistic collaboration

HIV Australia | Vol. 12 No. 3 | December 2014

By Finn O’Keefe

During AIDS 2014, Living Positive Victoria’s ENUF project was involved in a range of artistic collaborations to raise the profile of issues affecting people living with HIV.

One of these events was a photographic exhibition, held in Melbourne’s Federation Square, designed to challenge community attitudes towards HIV by addressing the issue of stigma and discrimination.

Curated by Brenton Geyer, ENUF Campaign Officer at Living Positive Victoria (LPV), working with photographer Alexander Edwards as the principal artist, ENUF Already: the Voices of ENUF allowed people living with HIV to document the experience of HIV-related stigma and resilience in all of its many and varied forms.

Using an innovative technique that combined projections and photography, the exhibition engaged people living with HIV in a creative, inclusive and collaborative artistic process to produce a series of portraits which incorporate personal stories projected onto the faces of the portrait subjects.

Displayed 24-hours a day in a public space, the exhibition put the stories and faces of people living with HIV clearly in the public eye for the duration of the International AIDS Conference.

Brenton Geyer explains that the ENUF project relies on the participation of a wide range of people thinking about stigma and sharing their experiences.

The Voices of ENUF exhibition enabled some of these stories to be brought into a new context.

By being prominently displayed in Federation Square, the exhibition allowed a broad audience to connect with these stories – including people who would have had no previous knowledge of the ENUF campaign.

‘The telling of personal stories and real experiences of people living with HIV plays an important part in assisting the ENUF campaign to achieve our goal of erasing the stigma and discrimination that follows people living with HIV,’ Brenton Geyer explains.

‘As somebody who is HIV-positive, I want to celebrate the rich diversity of the stories that our community has to tell and add my own contribution through the cultural expression that a project such as this will allow,’ he says.

To date, the ENUF campaign has attracted over 2,500 individual supporters and has received 70 stories of stigma and resilience, which are being drawn upon to construct a variety of anti-stigma, HIV awareness initiatives.

The photographs displayed in the exhibition represent just some of these stories.

Everyone is invited to share their voice by signing the online ENUF Pledge:

  • I pledge to challenge HIV stigma whenever and wherever I see it.
  • I will not sit by and allow anyone living with HIV to fear disclosure.
  • I will take action when I see others gossiping about, rejecting and/or promoting negative stereotypes about people living with HIV.
  • I commit to being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

To sign the pledge and to add your voice to the campaign, visit enuf.org.au

Finn O’Keefe is Communications Officer at AFAO and an editor of HIV Australia.