Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride and the Irish Queer Archive (IQA) have teamed up with HIV Ireland, AIDS Care Education & Training (ACET) and Google to bring you ‘Monument to a Plague’, an unmissable mixed-media event to mark World AIDS Day 2023. This very special event will take place in the beautiful surroundings of The Foundry Building at Google HQ, Dublin, on Monday, November 27.
It will feature digital displays of HIV & AIDS memorabilia drawn from the archives of HIV Ireland and the IQA and curated by activist and historian Tonie Walsh. A number of the original Irish NAMES Quilt panels, created to commemorate those who lost their lives to AIDS and HIV-related illnesses during the ’80s and ’90s, will also be on display, on loan from Queer Culture Ireland.
During the course of the evening, Walsh will deliver an illustrated history of the Irish AIDS pandemic, which will be followed by a panel discussion on the subject of ‘Building A Place of Memory’. The esteemed panellists include Chipo Harper (Migrant Plus), Dr Páraic Kerrigan (Media Studies, UCD), Richard Carson (ACET) and Dr Erin Nugent (HIV Ireland).
As the government prepares to unveil Ireland’s first ever HIV/AIDS Monument this coming World AIDS Day, December 1, 2023, Walsh acknowledged the significance of the monument, explaining, “It was incumbent on Irish society to explore more fully the dynamics of HIV/AIDS grief and memory.
“Every year, at World AIDS Day, we remember with great fondness and poignancy (and some lingering grief) those whom we’ve lost to AIDS. Outside of communities devastated by HIV and AIDS, our loss and the destruction it wrought barely registers.”
He added, “More pertinently, the memory of our loss barely registers. We need to look anew at media and cultural representations of Hiv and AIDS, both contemporary and historical.”
Urging a more holistic approach to AIDS remembrance, Richard Carson, CEO of ACET, cautioned, “Memory is dangerous as it disrupts our amnesia – that we so easily forget that the deaths of our loved ones were not mere tragedies of circumstance.
“Rather, with HIV and AIDS, we remember that these deaths were deeply interwoven with injustices and inequalities that remain with us today.”
He continued, “The impact of colonialism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, inequalities of wealth and much more persist while HIV treatment options improve. We will not treat our way out of these structural realities but will use our remembrance to act and hope for a new reality.”
Monument to a Plague, marking World AIDS Day 2023, is a free event, but tickets are limited. To book, go to Monument to a Plague: Memorialising the AIDS pandemic.
The illustrated history of the Irish AIDS pandemic by Tonie Walsh and the following panel discussion will be live-streamed by GCN.
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