// CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! // AIDS, Art and Activism Exhibition


In the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day 2015, ACT UP London is reaching out to artists in the city and beyond, to integrate new designs and visual subversion into the contemporary fight against HIV.

During the ‘first silence’ in the 80s, ACT UP was famous for its strong artistic component. Art collective Gran Fury (look up their archive at Queer Cultural Center) took on the role of ACT UP’s unofficial propaganda machine, employing and subverting brand advertising techniques to build a powerful visual presence in the fight against AIDS. Keith Haring’s pop art and graffiti art has come to visually define central aspects of that period, and continues to be employed today in radical actions around HIV/AIDS.

We live in different times and today we are faced with different emergencies. While the AIDS crisis in the USA during the 1980s meant that the reality of death was ever-present, HIV is considered, at least in the ‘west’, a ‘life sentence’ rather than a death sentence. In different parts of the world, this is a very different story. Access to ARVs and other HIV services is extremely unequally distributed. Pharmaceutical companies reap giant profits from limiting access to drugs, and states reap giant ideological benefits from the class, race, gender, and sexuality borders that exploitation of the virus creates.

The contemporary emergency that we face now is a ‘Second Silence’ created by this global neoliberal mandate, decimating services at home and abroad, entrenching discrimination, hierarchy, and stigma. HIV infection rates are on the increase, and access to vital treatments obstructed by corporate greed.


ACT UP London calls all artists with a passion for HIV justice and anger towards all governments and institutions that use HIV to promote racism, homophobia, sexism, and classism. We want artists to submit their visual works with HIV messages to our campaign.

All submissions will be used for the various ACT UP London events and creative protest actions; across physical and cyber spaces to raise awareness of HIV AIDS. Through art we will fight the Second Silence and the impact of the current political and economic situation on HIV prevention and cure.

Our closing date for submissions is Sunday December 6.

The works will be exhibited at ACT UP’s ‘AIDStravaganza’ event on December 10 – facebook event page here. ACT UP are excited to be building our network this way, encouraging artistic collaborations that are ongoing. Please join us and register your keen interest in being a part of this powerful, creative strategy for an art war against HIV and AIDS prejudice.

ALL submissions will be featured in ACT UP’s zine, online and offline, on ACT UP badges and beyond.

So artists, aspiring and established, get your felt tips out! We will be posting examples of past ACT UP work on this page for inspiration over the next few weeks.



Please send your submissions to actupart@gmail.com

Maximum file size 5MB. Formats accepted: jpg, png, PDF

Please add your name, title of the work, medium, year, and short description/motivation with your submission.

For additional info about submissions please e-mail to actupart@gmail.com


Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 17.01.22


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