Posted: August 13, 2010
According to 2008 figures published by UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since 1981. An estimated 33.4 million are living with HIV/AIDS. Two-thirds of the latter lives in sub-Saharan Africa.
Racial discrimination, high rates of poverty, and traditional gender roles have made AIDS education difficult in South Africa. Following in the footsteps of those who used traditional arts in the movement to stop apartheid, South African educators are using artistic expression to communicate the realities of AIDS. This is done through the Siyazama Project. Siyazama is the Zulu word for "we are trying."
The exhibit Siyazama: Traditional Arts, Education, and AIDS in South Africa will be on display in the Spurlock Museum Campbell Gallery from August 17, 2010 to January 9, 2011. It features over 60 pieces created through this innovative project, as well as introductions to some of the artists and information on the arts and AIDS education. The objects include colorful wirework and baskets, dolls, soft sculpture tableaus, and beadwork.
Two events will be held by the Museum in conjunction with this exhibition. A grand opening celebration will be held August 27 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. In addition to gallery exploration and refreshments, a short talk on AIDS in the Champaign-Urbana area will be presented by Mike Benner of the Greater Community AIDS Project (GCAP). In conjunction with GCAP, the Museum will host an AIDS Resource Day on Saturday, December 4, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University Museum, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported by the Andrew J. Mellon Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
The exhibition is a collaborative project with Natal Technikon (formerly Durban Technikon) that grew out of the South African National Cultural Heritage Project, a bi-national project led, in part, by Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.The exhibition is a collaborative project with Natal Technikon (formerly Durban Technikon) that grew out of the South African National Cultural Heritage Project, a bi-national project led, in part, by Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online.
Photographs by Pearl Yee Wong; Courtesy of the MSU Museum