Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today, by producing and presenting visual art projects, exhibitions, public forums and publications – while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS. Visual AIDS is committed to preserving and honoring the diversity and the works of artists with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement.
For Art Lives, POBA’s tribute to a generation of artists lost to AIDS, Visual AIDS has nominated two exceptionally talented artists lost to AIDS. Both artists created powerful works that mix their distinct cultural heritages with subject matter that influenced and intrigued them during their lifetime. Both artists also use their cultural material to make powerful contemporary statements, especially about gay life. Martin Wong draws largely on traditional Chinese artistic imagery and calligraphy, but delivers his visionary realism with irony, wit, and a distinctive juxtaposition of old and new. Nicolas Mouffarege was an art critic, curator and painter. In his own works, he interwove images and alphabets from his native Egypt and Lebanon with those from his time in Paris and New York to create complex works – most notably, his unique embroidered paintings.
Through Visual AIDS’s nominations, we are able to see and remember the talent, passion and timeless accomplishments of these master artists lost to us from AIDS and to learn a bit more about what shaped their vision and their lives.