Public Consultation Underway To Design An Irish AIDS Memorial

A public meeting to discuss proposals for an Irish AIDS Memorial will take place on Wednesday 1 August at the offices of HIV Ireland.

AIDS memorial planned for Ireland: pictured is the convention centre on Dublin's quays.

An Irish AIDS Memorial was first proposed by activist and writer, Tonie Walsh, at a World AIDS Day 2016 seminar organised by the Department of Media Studies at Maynooth University.

The campaign to build a monument now enters a new phase of public engagement that will hopefully drive the project to conclusion and, along the way, allow many more individuals and groups affected by the AIDS pandemic to own this project.

Examples of AIDS Memorials The New York City AIDS Memorial sits at the entrance to a new park adjacent to the former St. Vincent Hospital, West Village, which housed the city’s largest AIDS ward and is considered the local epicentre of the disease. More than 100,000 New Yorkers have died of AIDS since 1981. . . Designed by Jenny Holzer of Studio ai architects in an international competition, the long-span, slender steelwork supports triangular forms of tertiary aluminium slat panels. . . Stone benches surround a circular granite fountain, glazed with a thin layer of water that catches sunlight at varying times of the day. Engraved on the surrounding granite slab work are the words of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”. . . The memorial, a first for New York, was opened with a public dedication by Mayor de Blasio on World AIDS Day 2016. Some months later, Act Up New York marked its 30th anniversary with a march and rally at the memorial. #aidsmemorial #monuments #history #memory #hiv

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Speaking to, Tonie said that a memorial is needed to remember “our war-torn dead, fractured memories of our walking wounded”, sacred accounts of “the heroism, the steadfastness in the face of brutality and oppression, the sacrifice and enormous emotional costs to those who survived such appalling loss and destruction. Hidden histories that yearn to be heard”.

Examples of AIDS Memorials #6 The Key West AIDS Memorial in Florida, USA, was built with private funds and donated to the city in 1997. At the time of its dedication on World AIDS Day, the memorial included 730 names. It now numbers over 1,000. Key West had one of the highest AIDS rates per capita in the United States. In a city of 30,000, everyone knew someone affected by AIDS. The names are inscribed on Zimbabwean granite and embedded in the walkway approaching White Street Pier. Since 1998, the Friends of the AIDS Memorial has organised Key West’s annual World AIDS Day commemorative ceremony on December 1st. All pics from the Memorial’s website. #aidsmemorial #monuments #history #hiv #memory #aids

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Niall Mulligan, Executive Director of HIV Ireland, echoed Tonie’s sentiment: “A national AIDS memorial would recognise the lives lost, the grief and sorrow of those left behind, as well as acting as a reminder that there is still work to do to eliminate new HIV infections in Ireland, and combatting HIV-related stigma and discrimination”.

Wicked Dublin MPU

Earlier this month, People Before Profit Councillor John Lyons called for a public monument or memorial to commemorate the struggle of the Irish LGBTQ+ community.

Examples of AIDS Memorials A 3-minute walk from Central Station is the Amsterdam AIDS Monument, commissioned by the Netherlands Names Project. . . Just over 5m high, the brushed stainless steel structure was designed by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. It takes the form of an abacus with Murano glass coloured beads in joyous red, aquamarine, cobalt and alessandrita. A large bench of soft metal allows visitors to etch a message or leave graffiti. . . Called “Living by Numbers”, the abacus is designed to evoke the number of people who are ill, those who have died, but also the number of people involved in the fight since the earliest days of the disease. Sited at the Ij harbour’s edge, it is an invitation to look to the horizon and hope for better times. . . Louise van Deth, director of the Aids Fund, and Eberhard van der Laan, Amsterdam Mayor, unveiled the abacus on World AIDS Day 2016. . . “This monument is a symbol for everyone who has died from the effects of AIDS, but it is also a tribute to everyone who has helped to make sick and infected people feel respected and loved,” said Mayor van der Laan. “It is a consolation for all people who have to miss out on a loved one as a result of the illness and a support for everyone living with HIV.” #aidsmemorial #monuments #hiv #memory #history #amsterdam

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The councillor has suggested that a number of plaques should be placed at historic Irish LGBTQ+ sites across Dublin, including Liberty Hall, where the first Pride march was held in 1983, and Fairview Park, where Declan Flynn was murdered.

Walsh responded to this saying “I think that’s actually more urgent,”, seeing it as an opportunity to educate a new generation about the Irish AIDS crisis.

Examples of AIDS Memorials Designed by Sandra Bell, The Rose Bowl at DCU, Dublin, was commissioned by The Rose Project and named for Rose Atieno, a 32-year -old Kenyan woman who died of AIDS in 2003. . . She was cared for by her 7-yr-old son, as both her husband and daughter, Harriet, were also HIV Poz. Harriet contracted the virus from Rose during pregnancy. . . The sculpture of cast bronze takes the form of a large bowl with a polished indented section that serves as a bird bath. . . The Rose Bowl commemorates Rose’s life and the millions lost to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. . . Mary Donohue founded The Rose Project in 2003 with the aim of raising the profile of the pandemic and providing financial support to locally led HIV healthcare programmes, with a particular focus on mother to child HIV transmission in Kenya and Malawi. . . Originally sited at St. Stephen’s Green, where it was unveiled by President Mary McAleese in 2006, it was moved later to Dublin City University, in recognition of the university’s commitment to global health. . . The memorial was rededicated at DCU by Catherine Muigai Mwangi, Kenyan Amabassador to Ireland, on the eve of World AIDS Day 2012. #aidsmemorial #hiv #monuments #dublin #history #memory

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Walsh has suggested that an ideal monument would be a plaque at the Hirschfeld Centre, an LGBT community centre, which marks its 40th anniversary next year.

The public consultation about building an Irish AIDS Memorial takes place at 7 pm on Wednesday, August 1 in the offices of HIV Ireland, 70 Eccles Street, D7

You can follow the Irish AIDS Memorial on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with progress.

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