Art explores AIDS and sexual concurrency

30 August 2012 | Story by Newsroom

Passers-by on UCT's upper campus turned into spectators when, last week, a group of UCT students translated sexual concurrency into art.

Bread and bed: Student Bronwyn Katz at the HAICU exhibition. Caught up: A web of yarn represents the links created by sexual concurrency.

In collaboration with HAICU and under the guidance of art lecturer Fabian Saptouw, the first-year art students constructed a number of artworks that explored the third-term theme of UCT's HIV/AIDS Institutional Co-Ordination Unit (HAICU), Sexual Concurrency and HIV Prevention.

A mazy web of yarn that viewers struggle to negotiate, representing the smothering nature of the concurrency web, to a mattress overflowing with human-shaped cut-outs of bread that harked back to Tracy Emin's 1998 artwork My Bed and was said to represent the potential population that are susceptible to contracting the virus as a result of sexual concurrency.

Saptouw said because the exhibition was student-driven, it gave the message a different - and welcome - legitimacy among students than the more frequent "top-down" and passive delivery of the anti-HIV message.

"My main interest is getting students to think in a different way about art and social responsibility," he said. "It's about students at [students'] level engaging with you about the disease in a way that's a little bit different to the way the message is normally carried out, that I think that's the most effective thing about the project."

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