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Celebrating the Life

AUSTIN, Texas (November 20, 2009) — The Fine Arts Library is hosting an art performance and installation in recognition of World AIDS Day.

Alafia, a performance and installation of African art by Issa Nyaphaga and University of Texas Art History faculty Moyo Okediji, will take place from 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1.Image via networkcultures stream on Flickr.

Alafia – which means "health" in Yoruba – will focus on health matters, especially the scourge of epidemic and pandemic ailments such as AIDS, swine flu, tuberculosis, Ebola and other devastating medical conditions. Art and healing go hand-in-hand in African and African diasporic arts.

The procession of masks will start from the "Igbale" (or shrine) at the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, and lead to the exhibition gallery at the Fine Arts Library, where the grand performance and installation will take place. The installation will be on view for one week.

Annually, December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day, AIDS being an epidemic disease that has devastated Africa more than any other continent.

Statistics for AIDS show that 33.2 million people are living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. Roughly half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35. Around 95% of people with HIV and AIDS live in Africa, South America and Asia.

As Alafia (which means health in Yoruba) will seek to show, HIV and AIDS are diasporic diseases because they break boundaries of nationality, sexuality, gender and race. The swine flu, tuberculosis and a number of other diseases that have become equal opportunity assailants in the twenty-first century can also be considered diasporic diseases because they cross all borders.

Image via networkcultures photostream on Flickr.

Article published on November 20, 2009 - 7:48am

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