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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the National Homeland of the Red River Métis. More

The Essentialists Exhibition

Artwork Gallery

Thumbnail colour photographs of a Black community
Colour painting of a Racialized community in a struggle
An abstract colour painting with figure draped in a sheet lying down

Artist Statement

Artist Name: Kristy Fung

Title: Laying on bed

Medium: Acrylic

Size/Dimension: 18' x 24'

Year: 2020


Artist Statement:

My work for the exhibition is anchored in a book titled Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen by Fred Ritchin, a New York-based professor. The main idea is the book is to ask how images can promote new ways of thinking, and support stories beyond the usual news media and press photography. Here, images are used to symbolize a critical voice in public debates (Zhang et al. 2018).

The photo exhibition by Gideon Menel was inspired by the story of Nomphilo Mazuza. Mazuza, who started taking antiretroviral treatment very late, and was heavily emaciated in the last stages of HIV-AIDS. Mendel’s work we are living here is a long term project, demonstrating the effectiveness of HIV treatment in South Africa. The work aims at examining the meaning of access to treatment and effects over time. This exhibition has been essential and has shown effective treatment of HIV in South Africa, and attracted the sponsoring of similar projects from the Western countries. UNAIDS director Annemarie Hou commented on the impact of Mendel's artwork has helped the country reach 8 million for HIV treatment.

Mezuza’s artwork encouraged other HIV positive activists to collaborate with Mendel and reach out to any patients possible. The body of the artwork is made of 13-poster series, the access to treatment and the pre and post-recovery images that communicate the transformation in the health of the people living with AIDS.

My project involves creating colored images that are positive, with space for the subjects to make their statements about HIV/AIDS through gestures or gauze. Some show their faces to fight stigma, and others used objects and some of their body parts to narrate a recovery story.