|curator's statement||november 2005 selection|
o n t h e r o a d -- a t r i b u t e t o t h e c a m p a i g n t o e n d a i d s
c u r a t o r :  l e i c h o u
This November, AIDS activists from around the country are traveling on 10 caravans heading towards Washington, D.C. Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King's 1968 Poor People's March on Washington, the Campaign to End AIDS is calling attention to the growing public health disaster created by the Bush Administration. From cuts in funding for domestic care and treatment programs, to the promotion of abstinence-only-until-marriage in HIV prevention, our nation's AIDS policies are heading in the wrong direction.
Well into the third decade, with no cure in sight, the concept of "an End to AIDS" is a hard one to grapple. Yet the history of the AIDS crisis has been paved with impossible challenges met through political activism. If we can break through the strangle hold of complacency, AIDS activism can and will bring an end to this pandemic. We'll need not just our convictions; we'll also need vision.
These images from the Visual AIDS archive were selected as a tribute to everyone traveling on the caravans to end AIDS. While these pictures have in common a traveling theme, each of them also shows something extraordinary when grouped together in this context. Thomas Belloff's "Tommy's" and Raynes Birkbeck's "The Madonna Going to Egypt" convey a sense of sunny optimism that must motivate those walking and driving across country on the caravans, but a closer look shows something more at work (mate-less animals on the Ark, the black Madonna). Michael Binkley's "Red Coupe" and Sean Earley's "Slick Roads" are shiny cars traversing near danger. Curtis Carman's "Drag Queen Spaceship" brings drama, while the tissue box in Michael Harwood's "Auto Erotica" suggests the intimacy of a cross-country road trip. James Fackrell's "Maybe This Time" and Martin Freeman's "Swanee" echo Judy Garland's tunes for a sing-along. What are road trips without postcards? Here are three from Tseng Kwong Chi, David Faulk, and Raymond Bordeaux. And finally, a tongue-in-cheek road sign by Keith Haring.
Just as the works in the Visual AIDS archive are not only about AIDS, the AIDS community is not solely about this virus. Perhaps if we look to each other and within ourselves for the drive, the humor, and the heart that come with surviving this epidemic, we will find the vision that will take us to the End of AIDS. For more information about the Campaign to End AIDS, go to www.campaigntoendaids.org.
b i o g r a p h y
Lei Chou is the Director of Mobilization at CHAMP (Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project), www.champnetwork.org, and a member of the Save ADAP Committee of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition, www.atac-usa.org.
Lei's early work with ACT UP New York is documented on the Act Up Oral History Project at www.actuporalhistory.org.