Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS

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Let’s Talk About This: Folk Artists Respond to HIV/AIDS opens in the Museum of International Folk Art’s Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience on July 7, 2013 in conjunction with the International Folk Art Market – Santa Fe. This is the fourth in a series of annual exhibitions in the gallery and runs through January 5, 2014.

Panel discussions with the artists, workshops, lectures, and other public programs will take place during International Folk Arts Week with others planned during the run of the exhibition. A schedule of events is at the end of this release.

Since the gallery’s inception in 2010, exhibitions in this space have explored how traditional artists join forces in the face of change or disaster to provide comfort, counsel, prayer, and hope through their art. It’s this focus that has earned the space membership in the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience (http://www.sitesofconscience.org/).

Beginning with Let’s Talk About This, exhibitions in the gallery will not be formally organized by professional curators alone—they will be community-driven, co-created, collaborative, participatory, and cumulative. Visitors and community members become part of the conversation from the very beginning—helping to shape the exhibitions and contribute to the dialogue throughout the exhibition’s run. The focus remains, however, on folk art’s power to engage and connect communities around issues of social justice.

Let’s Talk About This was unveiled on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012, as an “exhibition-in-progress.” The original call went out for visitors and local artists to respond to an initial set of a dozen or so pieces of HIV/AIDS-related artworks from around the world. Since then, the gallery and the exhibition have evolved. Early visitors engaged with the issues raised by this first set of works by talking, writing about, stitching, or drawing their responses. These were left behind for others to see and engage with, creating a kind of asynchronous conversation. Through this cumulative process, the exhibition has grown, changed course, and developed in response to community needs and sentiment.

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