Category Archives: Artivism

ALL TOGETHER HUMAN – ART EXHIBIT

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Street art exhibit will show the human side to HIV in Ireland.

(Dublin, Ireland – 10th May) An upcoming art exhibit, ‘All Together Human’ featuring leading artists will highlight the human side of HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus on Irish AIDS day, June 15th 2017

The exhibit is being organised by artist Will St Leger for HIV activist group, ACT UP Dublin. For one day only, the show will feature work by 15 celebrated artists, including MASER, Jim Fitzpatrick, Sean Hillen along with popular illustrators; Aoife Dooley, Fuchsia MacAree and Friz. In addition, there will also be a, ‘Human’ photo project by photographer Hazel Coonagh.

The exhibition will take place in Filmbase, Dublin on Thursday 15th June. where the artwork will be sold by silent auction. Proceeds will be going to Dublin chapter of  international HIV/AIDS activist group, ACT UP.  ACT UP Dublin campaign for a more effective response from government and community organisations as new diagnoses of HIV among gay and bisexual men have increased dramatically in the last decade. (see notes)

Speaking about the upcoming show organiser Will St Leger said,  “I want the show title, ‘All Together Human’ to sum up theme of this exhibit. Across our social, religious, economic and geographical differences, HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus – affects us as people.” Adding, “Altogether human in our weaknesses and strengths, our failures and achievements, our rage and joyfulness. All together, human, in solidarity, defiance and hope.”

ENDS

Notes:

Contact; Will St Leger – willstleger@gmail.com

‘All Together Human’ exhibition opens for one day only on Irish AIDS Day. Thursday 15th June 2017 at Filmbase, Curved Street, Dublin. 6pm until 10pm  – Artworks will be sold by silent auction in aid of ACT UP Dublin.

Featured Artists:

– ADW – Aoife Dooley – Adrian & Shane – Emma Blake – Hazel Coonagh –  Jim Fitzpatrick – Friz – Sean Hillen – Maser – Morgan – Fuchsia MacAree – Jess Tobin – Solus – Richard Seabrooke –  Signs of Power

High resolution poster and logo along with selected artworks are available on request: Facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/688335311346086/  – Follow ACT UP Dublin on Twitter for updates; @actupdublin

About ACT UP Dublin:

ACT UP Dublin is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV/AIDS crisis. www.actupdublin.com

HIV in Ireland:

Provisional figures from Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre show more new HIV diagnoses were reported in 2016 than in any previous year. The final total showed about a 6% increase over 2015 figures, which had previously been the highest on record.

In 2015, Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) recorded 485 new HIV diagnoses—the highest number ever in the history of the epidemic in this country. Of particular concern, new diagnoses among gay and bisexual men have increased dramatically over the past decade, more than quadrupling since 2005. ACT UP Dublin believes that these figures underscore the compelling need for a more effective response from government and community organisations.

SCIENCE = HEALTH

imageIn 1987, Gran Fury – an artist arm of ACT UP created the infamous SILENCE = DEATH graphic. Soon the design would be wheat pasted across New York City as a deadly virus killed people in the hundred’s of thousands.  Before the age of social media, the Pink triangle would be worn on badges, tee-shirts and painted on big banners as the symbol and motto of the generation that fought back against AIDS and Government inaction.

From 1996, medical research progressed into HIV/AIDS drugs  (thanks to relentless pressure of groups like ACT UP).  People living with HIV with access to  antiretroviral drugs began to control the virus and in the following years the number of people dying of AIDS began to decline.

In the past number of years through advancement in science – drugs like PrEP can now stop people to acquiring HIV and PEP can prevent HIV taking hold if taken with 72 hours of exposure to HIV.  In addition, a person with HIV who is on effective treatment whose is virally suppressed become will not transmit HIV to a sexual partner.

SILENCE = DEATH – was a succinct and powerful message for it’s time, but we need to move the message on.   I think that today, SCIENCE = HEALTH is a far more fitting slogan. It’s a positive message that gives hope. However, SILENCE still equals DEATH for 15 million people worldwide with no access to lifesaving medicine.  SCIENCE = HEALTH can only be achieved globally when Big Pharma reduces the cost and releases the patents of these drugs so that millions more people can access them.

SCIENCE = HEALTH

Irish AIDS Day 2017 – 15th June 2017

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1. New HIV diagnoses are at record highs in Ireland: Provisional figures from Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre show more new HIV diagnoses were reported in 2016 than in any previous year. The final total showed about a 6% increase over 2015 figures, which had previously been the highest on record.

2. Action is needed to tackle this epidemic: The Irish government’s response to this health crisis is falling short. We want to rouse the Irish government, community stakeholders, and the public at large into action to address the ongoing epidemic.

3. Living with HIV has changed: With access to proper care and treatment, a person diagnosed with HIV today can expect to live a long, healthy life. Effective treatment means that they will not transmit the virus to sexual partners. Despite these new realities, outdated ideas about HIV persist. Stigma & discrimination hurt people living with HIV and undermine HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to seek information, services, and care.

4. We need to tackle HIV-related stigma: Advances in treatment not only save lives, but offer powerful new ways to reduce HIV transmissions. Pre- exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a safe and highly effective way for HIV-negative people to prevent HIV. Taking a single daily pill provides nearly complete protection against HIV. We in the community are ready for new prevention options like PrEP. Further delay making PrEP available in Ireland will result in needless and avoidable new transmissions.

Out of the Shadows

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TRAVELLING ART EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS URGENT NEED FOR REFORM OF IRELAND’S ABORTION LAWS

At least 10 women and girls each day travel to the UK to access abortion services.

Today, an innovative art project which highlights the harrowing journey experienced by women and girls forced to travel outside Ireland to access abortion services will visit Letterkenny. The project, which is led by artist and activist Will St Leger and supported by the Abortion Rights Campaign and Amnesty International Ireland, will visit six counties over its six day tour. The exhibition will also visit Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Meath and Dublin.

Every year, at least 4,000 women are forced to travel outside of Ireland to access abortion services. This refers to the number of women who give Irish addresses. The real figure, which doesn’t account for women travelling to other countries or purchasing abortion pills online, could be much higher. In Donegal alone, 67 women and girls have travelled to the UK for an abortion in 2015.

“Ireland’s abortion laws do not stop women and girls from having or needing abortions, it simply forces them to travel abroad. The law, which is one of the most restrictive in the world, disproportionally affects certain women and girls, including minors, survivors of sexual violence, asylum seekers, women with health problems or those who are otherwise unable to travel. Travelling abroad for abortion is expensive (costing at least €1,000) which further limits abortion to those who can afford to travel.” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland. 

“Women in rural areas face additional obstacles when travelling for an abortion, such as infrequent public transport and longer journeys. ARC regional groups have engaged with these communities to break down the culture of stigma, shame, and fear that has pervaded the issue of abortion for too long. This project will build on the progress made by Abortion Rights Campaign regional groups and other local and community groups. It will continue expanding the dialogue on the urgent need for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, “said Taryn Gleason, Abortion Rights Campaign Donegal spokesperson. 

Life-size silhouettes representing women will be placed in various locations across the country to visually symbolise the fact that, on average 10 women and girls are forced to leave Ireland every day to access abortion services aboard.

“Many women who travel to the UK for an abortion describe the journey as traumatic and upsetting. The Irish state and health service effectively turns its back on them, forcing them to bear the psychological, physical and financial burden alone. Women forced to travel feel sense of exclusion from their health care system, the stigma of traveling, and the burden of secrecy, shame and fear that comes with knowing they are doing something that is a criminal offence at home. This project is designed to bring these women out of the shadows so that we can stand in solidarity with them,” said artist and activist Will St Leger.

Ireland’s abortion laws creates a two-tiered system where some women can circumvent the law by travelling abroad for abortions, while others are forced to continue with a pregnancy or resort to illegal and often unsafe means of accessing abortion, including the use of abortifacient medication bought online. Though this medication is safe, it should be taken with medical supervision which Irish law prohibits.

The exhibition culminates in Dublin this weekend, which coincides with the next meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly.

“Ireland’s abortion laws causes serious human rights violations to women in Ireland every day. The Irish Government is under an immediate obligation to bring Irish law into compliance with international human rights law, which requires the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. It cannot abdicate that responsibility to the Citizens’ Assembly,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland. 

An independent Red C poll commissioned by Amnesty International in February 2016 found that 87% favour expanded access to abortion. 80% would vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment, either outright or if reasonable restrictions were put in place. Of the 5% of people personally opposed to abortion in all circumstances, half would still vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment

Snapped Up

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Over the past few years I’ve celebrated April’s Fools Day by doing a street art prank.  This year I want to do something different, so on the 1st of April 2016, I will be hiding 12 works of my art around Dublin city. Every hour I will reveal the location of each piece via a Snapchat story.

Your task is to find them before my other followers do, simply follow me on Snapchat before the 1st of April and check my Snapchat stories each hour from 8am till 8pm on Fools Day.

If you’re quick enough to find a piece of work, take a snapchat story of your prize (tag me in it @willsaint.)

Good luck!

*UPDATE*

From 8am today I placed my artwork work around various parts of Dublin. It was great fun and wonderful to get tweets from some of the happy hunters that found them. Thank you everyone that got involved!

Ce9sOLOWQAEdXgD

Ce8qAI-W8AA8Uwl

Syria – Now You Know

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This morning I installed a fake unexploded missle on South King Street, Dublin for GOAL global charity.

The unexploded missile has been constructed, using various salvaged materials. It was be placed in a ‘hole’ on the pavement, created using sand and pre-smashed paving stones. Special effects will be created by coal dust for blast scorch and smoke, along with a number of other elements. The charity wanted to highlight the ongoing suffering of innocent civilians in Syria, as the latest round of peace talks on the Syria crisis begin in Geneva tomorrow.

I was commissioned by GOAL to build the structure to mark the fact that rockets and missiles continue to land in civilian areas in Syria every day, killing innocent men, women and children in the process

GOAL CEO Barry Andrews attended the event with GOAL Syrian staff member, Alia Alsoud. Alia left Syria at the start of the war but still has family living in the country. She also lost family members in the violence, while other have been trapped in sieges.