Student’s city-wide exhibition for World AIDS Day

Collaboration exploring the global AIDS pandemic and the widespread HIV stigma

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An artwork from the exhibition marking World AIDS Day

Perth College UHI, Horsecross Arts, Perth and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) have teamed up in a collaboration exploring the global AIDS pandemic and the widespread HIV stigma.

The fourth annual city-wide exhibition entitled “Act Aware. Know > Share > Prevent”, features artworks on paper, canvas and screens by sixty students studying Contemporary Art Practice and Visual Communications at Perth College UHI. It opens on the eve of World AIDS Day, Wednesday 30 November 2016 at 5pm across three locations including the Union Link at Perth College UHI; Fair Maid's House at North Port and Threshold artspace at Perth Concert Hall.

The exhibition opening is free and open to all. It includes an art crawl beginning Wednesday 30 November 5pm at Perth College UHI, continues at The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) and culminates with an award ceremony and exclusive, free screening of How to Survive a Plague at Horsecross Arts, Perth. There will also be exhibition previews, guided tours, student’s awards ceremony and an exclusive screening of the documentary How to Survive a Plague (2013) at Perth Concert Hall. The exhibition will continue until Friday 2 December with free admission daily, 10am-5pm across the three city locations. It will include free guided tours by the student artists at each location.

Co-curated by Kaya-Lana Fraser, Iliyana Nedkova, Simon Reekie, Richard Rapa and Helen Roger, Act Aware. Know > Share > Prevent was inspired by a day-long masterclass held at the college about contemporary art and political activism. It involved 35 students on the Contemporary Art Practice degree course, working with Edinburgh-based curator Iliyana, Creative Director of Contemporary Art at Horsecross Arts and the London-based visual artist Mare Tralla of ACT UP London - the diverse group of individuals “united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic”.

As one of the exhibiting artists, student Kaya-Lana has recently started her curatorial placement at Horsecross Arts as part of her second year studies of Contemporary Art Practice at Perth College UHI. She said: “I am delighted that alongside creating a new artwork for Act Aware. Know > Share > Prevent, I had the chance to work on the curatorial side of the show alongside Iliyana at Threshold artspace in Perth Concert Hall. The annual student’s exhibition is promising to provide an insight into the issues of socially-engaged contemporary art practice which often include strong statements made through artist’s films, installations, photography and political campaign design.”

Iliyana said: “Kaya-Lana is the first Perth College UHI student on a work placement with me at Horsecross Arts. The exhibition couldn’t have provided a better start of this new programme of curatorial placements. Another set of firsts for this exhibition is the generous contribution of our new partners RSGS, ACT UP London and Darmouth Films. The latter have kindly granted us the permission to screen the seminal documentary How to Survive a Plague (2013) which tells the story of two coalitions - ACT UP and TAG - whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. There is even never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and '90s.”

As part of the co-curatorial team, Richard Rapa, Perth & Kinross Project Manager For Recovery added: “I am very pleased that for the first time in the four-year history of student’s exhibitions to mark World AIDS Day, we will be able to provide an award up to £250 towards the acquisition of the best students’ work for the unique collection of contemporary art held in trust for the public at Threshold artspace, Perth Concert Hall. I am looking forward to the awards ceremony when the winning artwork will be announced just before the free public screening of How to Survive a Plague at Perth Concert Hall.”