Today is World AIDS Day 2014, and we couldn’t think of a better example of the spirit of Word AIDS Day than the recent project we did with artist Freedom Rodriguez.
In 2013, Freedom visited Kenya to interview, photograph and capture portraits of one hundred CARE for AIDS clients and staff members. Using stories and photographs from these interviews, he painted each portrait on the cover of worn, previously discarded books, transforming once abandoned objects into unique pieces of art.
The portraits celebrate the lives and stories of CARE for AIDS clients and represent the millions of people around the world who have been discarded by their own families, friends and communities due to their HIV status. These portraits and stories serve as a symbol of the powerful redemption that takes place when a community acknowledges each individual as a unique and valuable work of art–body and soul.
When asked about his choice to use books as an art medium, Freedom remembers seeing a pile of books in the library- all stamped with the worddiscard.
“With all these faces from my trip in my mind…it just connected at that point. It made complete sense. These [clients], they have stories that are not told. Many of the books I paint on are damaged or stained or torn, and thats how [people with HIV] feel. Thats how the portrait idea started for me.”
In honor of World AIDS Day, we want to encourage you to help us tell the stories that are not often told. Help us make these stories of redemption intobeautiful works of art.
Share the story of a CARE for AIDS client today (use #CAREforAIDS and #PullTogether14 of you are on social media), and join us in honoring the spirit of story for World AIDS Day 2014.