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Facing AIDS, Facing Reality

November 30, 2009

By pwrdf

Reflections on an Exhibition

The AIDS Photo Exhibit journeyed across Canada from coast to coast, diocese to diocese for over 2 years. It was set up in churches, schools, community centers and in other creative spaces. Everywhere it went, lives were transformed, promises were made and people voiced their support. Reading through the guest book and speaking with some of those who played a role in this exhibit sparks the passion anew and reminds us that together we can make a difference.
Please join us as we reflect on the AIDs Photo Exhibit and commemorate World AIDS Day December 1, 2009.
Lois Hutchison, patron, AIDS photo exhibit: When I was invited to be the patron of the Facing AIDS, Facing Reality exhibit, I was not sure what I was getting into.  At first I was nervous, but it didn’t take long to see that everyone cared about the exhibit and everyone’s ideas were important.  It was impressive to see Anglican Video and PWRDF staff working together with such confidence and expertise, and I learned so much from them.
I don’t’ think I really pictured the form the exhibit would take and when I arrived at Holy Trinity Church for the opening I was overwhelmed.  The pictures, the music and the voices were haunting and the plight of the wonderful Grannies caring for orphans of AIDS, as well as the victims themselves, took on a whole new meaning and urgency.
Thanks PWRDF and Anglican Video for realizing that getting valuable messages across is often done best with pictures and voices and music.  Perhaps other areas of church life could benefit from that insight!
Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, former Primate: During my primacy the “Facing AIDS, Facing Reality” display travelled almost as widely in Canada as I did.  Often I would be greeted at a parish or diocesan event by a life-size image of my wife inviting me to explore the display. The impact of the display has been beyond all expectation in terms of both awareness and financial support of the Partnership for Life initiative — a credit to the imaginative collaboration of PWRDF and Anglican Video.

Gordon Youngman: In the spring and summer of 2006 I had the privilege to be involved in one of the finest exhibits to come from the National Office of the Anglican Church of Canada. The HIV and AIDS pandemic was brought into perspective by a number of panels that put faces to people who have been involved in the struggle or live with HIV and had the sensitive and loving face of Lois Hutchison as the Patron.

This photo exhibit brought home to everyone who viewed it the reality of HIV and AIDS and made us question the enormity of suffering and death wrapped up in four little letters- AIDS.

Everyone needs to become involved in order to promote and protect the human rights of women, children and other populations most at risk. We need to make sure that the next generation of drugs is available to the poor as well as Indigenous populations and the homeless.

Once again as we reflect on the photo exhibit and learn from each other, let’s keep our shared goal in sight and remember to aim high: our goal is to put an end to the pandemic once and for all.

Christine Hills: A  labour of love, that’s how I would describe it. Each time I watched people going through the exhibit with its haunting soundtrack, I was struck by a profound sense of breaking through and pushing forward. This is how we educate ourselves, through hearing, through watching, through telling our stories to each other.
I became very familiar with each panel, each story. Even today I find Tereza Birabwe’s photo and message compelling. Her photo sits on my shelf and reminds me that in some small way, I have the ability to care and to work for change – always.

(Photo: Bishop Rod Andrews’ Fundraising tractor trek.)
Quotes from the Guest Book
One can make a difference — I can!
Awesomely awful (not an insult).
This is a beautiful and moving exhibit, especially with sound and music together.
The photographs are so powerful with the text. Bravo for bringing in!
This photo exhibit has touched a very sensitive place in my heart. It’s effectiveness has overwhelmed me with awareness about the AIDS epidemic.
Disappointed. I expected many photographs making me feel the terrible nature of AIDS. More information and AIDS (growth of disease, symptoms) statistics. Where research is at. Info on successes, More specific funding request.
It made me feel sad. AIDS is sad.
I’ll never forget. Thank you.
Sexual violence, poverty, discrimination, racism and gender inequality spread this terror — in solidarity and respect.
Excellent emphasis on children and (coerced) sex trade workers. Reminds us this is not only an ill of ‘modern lifestyles’ but of perpetuated and traditional abuses of power and of the powerless.
A very alive way to represent the reality of too many lives.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving it’s good to remember those who truly have faith.
Very well done-this is what people need to hear and see.
These blessed icons open us to a suffering Christ and his compassion.
I am 8 years old and I want to help.
Very good display, puts the issue up front and clear — what’s next?
We must do more; money and prayer are not enough.
Attractive presentation of a tragic situation. Why nothing about the scandalous state of affairs in South Africa?
CANFAR supporter — ‘good job’.
Had to see it again — too much to grasp! Powerful!
Très joli. Merci que Dieu vous bénisse.
A great experience for my children.
Very moving, you can’t just look without feeling you must act!
This exhibition seems to me to get to the heart of the AIDS pandemic. Even though visually impaired, I could clearly see and read the white on black.
Way to go grannies.
It is asoum, it is great.
September 24, 2006-Queens’s University: Thank you for having me! Stephen Lewis
Cheryl Curtis: The Anglican Church of Canada embraced the challenge and took a prophetic stance when it declared that the world has AIDS. The fact remains that the work continues and we cannot forget our sisters and brothers around the world who are affected.  We are there with them.

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