ARTAID19 Unites 59 Artists To End AIDS

Senses Shah Shamshiri 23-Oct-2019

The Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) is bringing together 59 Malaysian artists on a mission to end AIDS. ARTAID19, the fifth edition of the annual ARTAID art fundraiser series organised by MAF, continues to highlight the impact of the AIDS epidemic and to provide an opportunity for artists to contribute to the AIDS cause.

The brainchild of Ahmad Zakii Anwar, one of Malaysia’s most acclaimed fine artists and a Trustee of MAF, the ARTAID series has left an imprint on the Malaysian arts scene since it started in 2015.

Returning as advisor, he said, “I created ARTAID as a platform for fellow artists not only to challenge themselves artistically but also to challenge the views that are detrimental to the progress we have made in addressing the AIDS epidemic by bringing to the fore silenced voices and lived experiences of people living with HIV through their art pieces. I am pleased to see that it has since grown into a movement, attracting a record 59 artists this year to demonstrate our strength in numbers.”

Through its many thematic iterations over the years, ARTAID has raised awareness of how ignorance, misconceptions and stigma continue to pervade the conversation around HIV and AIDS in Malaysia, despite the scientific game-changers that have altered the course of the epidemic as well as the socio-health outcomes of the millions of people impacted by it globally.

“However, I decided to do away with a theme this year as I wanted the artists to have a blank canvas to explore and deep dive into compassion, equality, respect, dignity, social justice and other human values that are intrinsic to the fight to end AIDS – not forgetting issues that affect them on a deeply personal level,” he added.

Meanwhile, Professor Dato’ Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chairman of MAF acknowledged the power of the arts and the critical role of artists and creative players in ending AIDS. “The global AIDS activism was not birthed by scientists. It was artists, actors and celebrities working together with communities affected by the AIDS epidemic thirty odd years ago who kickstarted the global movement to influence governments and decision makers and raise funds for research,” she noted.

“Fast forward to now, the prospect of ending AIDS is real, thanks to the scientific advancements and tools we have at our disposal. But it is only as real as the resources committed to matching the efforts on the ground to bring more people living with HIV out of the fringes of society and provide them access to lifesaving treatment, care and support. This is what we hope to do with money raised from ARTAID.”

Until 2017, there were 72,399 people living with HIV in Malaysia. However, only 54% of them have access to lifesaving treatment.

Proceeds from the sale of art pieces at ARTAID19 will help to save the lives of more men, women and children impacted by HIV and AIDS under the various MAF treatment, care and support initiatives.

To date, the ARTAID series has raised a total of RM1.3 million and looks to raise more as the MAF strengthens its commitment to helping Malaysia achieve the goals of ending AIDS by 2030.

ARTAID19 runs from 22 to 27 October at Whitebox, Publika Shopping Gallery, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. All art pieces on display are for sale and the public is welcomed to view and own a piece of history in the making starting from RM 2,000. All purchases are entitled to tax exemption.

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