Will St Leger is the organiser of All Together Human, an exhibition aimed at highlighting the human side of HIV for Irish AIDS day. He explains the initiative and event.
Is the All Together Human exhibition aimed at highlighting the growing complacency about HIV. Where do you think this stems from?
I hope the exhibition highlights an urgent need for HIV awareness, solidarity for those living with HIV and action to end Ireland’s HIV crisis. Complacency stems from a number of factors. The government has been painfully slow to respond effectively to an alarming rise in new HIV diagnoses in the last several years. This political inaction along with poor surveillance of epidemiological data and lack of funding for prevention strategies creates the perfect storm for rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Most people are not aware that new diagnoses of HIV in Ireland are at the highest levels ever recorded in the state and growing.
What has the government response to Act Up?
ACT UP Dublin is less than one year old, however we’ve made a big impact so far by challenging the indifference and neglect on the part of government and state agencies, ACT UP is a direct action group, so as our numbers grow, so too will our voices.
What is the most pressing demand on your agenda?
Approval for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). PrEP is a safe, effective drug that stops HIV. The Government should make PrEP accessible to anyone at significant risk of acquiring HIV. An individual’s ability to pay should not be a barrier to access for this crucial HIV prevention resource.
What has the response from artists been like?
Incredible! One of my favourite things about living in Ireland is that we have a close knit and engaged creative community who will respond to a call to action. We have 14 men and women in the show who have produced heartfelt and empowering art.
Is there any artist you are stoked about in terms of their involvement?
I have no favourites!, I know every contributing artist personally and I love them dearly – I can’t begin to explain what their selfless contribution means to me and ACT UP.
All Together Human is on in Filmbase, Temple Bar, from 6pm to 10pm.
Featured artists include: Sean Hillen, Hazel Coonagh, Fuchsia MacAree, Adrian & Shane, Signs of Power and Jess Tobin.
Photo by Hazel Coonagh
Liquid Love by Adrian and Shane