Artists with HIV Show Their Work
Mount Sinai Hospital recently inaugurated an art exhibit that showcases work by HIV-positive artists or people who have been affected by the disease, Queens Latino reported. The article below was edited and translated from Spanish.
Mount Sinai Hospital recently inaugurated an art exhibit at its headquarters in lower Manhattan that showcases work by HIV-positive artists or people who have been affected by the illness.
“We want to free this generation from AIDS, but there isn’t a magic pill,” said Dr. Barbara Johnston, associate medical director at the Jack Martin Clinic & Comprehensive Health Program. “That’s why we welcome this exhibit and the art, which represents light and creativity.”
The exhibition is part of celebrations for Hispanic Heritage Month. However, statistics on the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community are alarming: The illness is the fourth highest cause of death among Latinos between 35 and 44 years old, and the sixth highest among Hispanics ages 25 to 34. The infection rate for Latina women is four times higher than for white women. Latinos make up 16% of the population, but 20% of new HIV cases.
Johnston said that rates of hepatitis C and colon cancer are also rising in the Latino community. “We are here to treat people, even though we must accept the fact that cases are continuing to increase. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Dr. Luz Amarilis Lugo introduced Alejandro García-Amaya, founder of AOTA, an organization that promotes art in the corporate world.
“Art is an expression of culture and people’s heritage, and reflects the artist’s feelings,” García said, before introducing jewelry artist Phil Harris.
“It took me a lot of hard work to find my own expression because I didn’t have the chance to growing up. My mother was abusive and couldn’t give me the attention I needed,” said Harris. “But at last I moved forward, and now I make art and design jewelry.”
“My work reflects my personal struggle and my view of the world,” said artist Luis Rodríguez.
“My mind flies like a bird,” said Arid Orozco, standing next to his painting of the Venezuelan forest.
Works by Stephen Cervantes and Jairo Botero were also displayed.
“We want our patients to feel at home. That’s been our vision since we started this program,” said Matthew Baney, administrative director of HIV Services at the clinic.
The clinic is located at 275 Seventh Ave., between 24th and 25th Sts., 12th floor, in Chelsea, tel. (212) 604-1701. The exhibit is open to patients but not the public.