The AIDS Memorial – Instagram upamiętniający osoby, które zmarły na AIDS
5 czerwca 1981 roku amerykańskie Centrum Zwalczania i Zapobiegania chorobom opublikowało raport, w którym opisało 5 przypadków rzadkiej infekcji płuc. Wszyscy zarażeni byli młodymi homoseksualistami, a oprócz zapalenia płuc cierpieli także na inne infekcje wskazujące, że ich układy odpornościowe nie pracują prawidłowo. W chwili publikacji raportu, dwóch z opisanych w nim mężczyzn już nie żyło. Do końca roku lekarze odnotowali jeszcze 270 podobnych przypadków, 121 skończyło się śmiercią.
24 września 1982 roku tajemnicza choroba dostała swoją nazwę – AIDS, czyli zespół nabytego braku odporności. Rok później naukowcy doszli do wniosku, że przyczyną AIDS jest wirus HIV, który przenosi się przez krew i drogą płciową.
W ciągu następnych dekad AIDS doprowadziło do śmierci 35 milionów ludzi na całym świecie. Wśród także sławy. Najgłośniejsza była niewątpliwie śmierć lidera Queen, Freddiego Mercurego, ale wśród ofiar AIDS znalazła się także zaledwie 26-letnia modelka Gia Carangi, znany z roli Normana Batesa Anthony Perkins, Liberace czy francuski filozof Michel Foucault.
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. “My mommy died, over 16 years ago, due to complications from AIDS. Growing up, I didn't truly know the reason for her death. All I know is that I was in the hospital and she told me she had to have surgery and would be back. I never saw my mom again. . On the night of her death — at the time I had no idea she had passed on — I was in my hospital room on the third floor and saw an ‘Angel’ floating. I screamed and the nurses came running. After informing them of what I saw, they came and sedated me. . The next day, I didn't hear from my mom. I missed her, so I made her a picture of a heart and wrote inside, "I love you.” The day after that, I was told she had passed away around the time I saw my ‘Angel’ two days before by her husband. . Long story short, I haven't seen you in my dreams in a while, will you come visit me tonight?” — by Leshia Scott . #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids
Konto instagramowe The AIDS Memorial powstało, aby stworzyć przestrzeń dla tych, którzy stracili kogoś bliskiego w związku z epidemią AIDS.
Mogą się tam zamieścić zdjęcie bliskiej im osoby, podzielić się historiami i wspomnieniami o niej. Twórca strony, Stuart ze Szkocji, założył ją w kwietniu 2016 roku. Czuł, że wiele ofiar AIDS zostało zapomnianych, oczywiście nie przez rodzinę i przyjaciół, tylko opinię publiczną. – Ci, którzy przeżyli epidemię nadal cierpią na stres pourazowy i nie chcą tego ponownie przeżywać. To wciąż jest zbyt bolesne. Z wiadomości, które otrzymuję wynika, że wiele osób boi się, że znów ludzie będą ich osądzać tylko dlatego, że mieli kontakt z kimś, kto zmarł na AIDS. To wciąż realny stygmat, nawet dzisiaj. Epidemia AIDS to dla millennialsów starożytna historia. (…) Ważne jest jednak, aby zdawali sobie sprawę z tego, że problemy, z którymi borykają się dzisiaj są powiązane z poprzednim pokoleniem, z traumą i paniką, które była naszym udziałem, i że to, co osiągnęliśmy do tej pory zostało zbudowane także dzięki osobom, które umierając na AIDS, działały, żądając sprawiedliwego traktowania przez wrogie społeczeństwo – tłumaczy Stuart w rozmowie z Vogue.
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. “The most painfully devastating day of my entire life was on the day when my best friend, co-partner and soul mate, Dack Rambo (November 13, 1941 – March 21, 1994) passed from this life! . Dack had contacted me to come to him and pray with him following his HIV diagnosis so I caught the next flight to go to this man who would become my greatest friend in life eternally! . I prayed with Dack and God answered our prayer instantly. His next physical showed his HIV in remission and his T cell count for the first time registered higher than it ever had since the diagnosis. After prayer, Dack’s mom Bea saw him and wept as she said, the light had returned in her son Norman’s eyes and hope had replaced fear. She told everyone, “My son’s back!” . We were inseparable and from the first day we spoke by phone till his last day on earth. We prayed together every single day for him, his family, friends, and fans. Dack’s love for his fans was authentic, genuine and eternal. He so appreciated every kindness, fan letter, and gift sent! . Dack spent his remaining years living the great-er dream of his life which he shared in his video, ‘Heart to Heart with Dack Rambo.’ When he was asked, “How would you like to be remembered?” — Dack replied, “Truly I would like to be remembered as a great man of God!”. . Following our first prayer together, Dack and I became co-evangelists spreading the good news that God’s not mad at you and prayer changes things to the world by speaking in churches, appearing on talk shows and Christian networks sharing his faith, hope and love for all humanity. Together we formed ‘The Dack Rambo Healing Foundation’ — an outreach to help those battling the many challenges Dack himself battled and conquered through prayer. . The heart and soul of Dack is summed up in the meditation of his heart and prayer of his life: . “To be an example for God to help my fellow man!” Together, we reached out to thousands of beautiful people battling the HIV with love, compassion, and faith. . Dack remains the greatest man and friend I’ve ever had, known or have. Thank YOU for your love and kindness to the man who I knew as my best friend” — by Ronnie Pierce
Choć Stuart jest osobą, która zamieszcza posty na koncie The AIDS Memorial, nie jest ich twórcą – to ludzie, którzy stracili bliskich, wysyłają do niego historie i zdjęcia. Jego zadanie polega tylko na redakcji. – The AIDS Memorial nie jest o mnie. Nie czuję się dobrze z tą popularnością. Nie mogę znieść tego, kiedy niektóre konta na Instagramie – powstające w ważnej sprawie – kończą jako pokaz próżności osób, które je założyły – tłumaczy Stuart.
Dzięki temu projektowi można się przekonać, że osoby, które umarły na AIDS to też ludzie tacy jak my – z planami i marzeniami, zwyczajną pracą i osobami, dla których były bliskie.
Intymne portrety odmalowywane przez osoby zgłaszające posty na stronę to nie tylko studium odchodzenia osoby chorej, ale także – a może zwłaszcza – opis jej życia, tego, kim były dla innych ludzi i jakie piętno odcisnęła na nich ta relacja.
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. “1994, Rick had the best gallery in San Francisco and while I was just 21, it was where I wanted to show my work. We had a couple of almost studio visits but by 1995 the gallery was winding down. For one of the last group shows Rick chose @yokoonoofficial as the inspiration — and incredibly enough she called the gallery — and left a voicemail. He played it for me a couple times, laughing with glee. "Hi this is Yoko, " she said, "The proof is in the pudding". The Kiki archive, small but formidable, is available to view at the @sfpubliclibrary’s main branch.” — by Sam Gordon @sam_gordon_ . David Bonetti, EXAMINER ART CRITIC February 22, 1997. . “Richard Carl "Rick" Jacobsen, a cultural impresario and artist who lived and worked in San Francisco in the late 1980s and '90s, has died at his family's home in Middleton, Wis. He was 35. . Mr. Jacobsen was a native of Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He died February 13 of lymphoma and complications from AIDS. . Mr. Jacobsen was a familiar figure in The City's "queer" artistic circles. Temperamental and outspoken, he was often the center of controversy. He was active in ACT UP during its glory days, and he organized two successful benefit art auctions for the group. . Mr. Jacobsen produced several shows at Josie's Juice Joint and Cabaret. His forte was as a gallery director. In 1993, he opened Kiki, a tiny gallery on 14th Street that almost immediately became one of the most provocative sites for new visual arts in The City. . During a feverish two-year period, Kiki hosted more than 20 exhibitions, featuring such artists as #JeromeCaja, @csopie, @keithmayerson, @NaylandBlake, Rex Ray, Cecilia Dougherty, Brett Reichman and Cary Leibowitz. The gallery hosted readings, and, on a minuscule budget, published catalogs. . After he closed Kiki in 1995, Mr. Jacobsen continued serving as a producer and curator, and he devoted more time to his own work as fiction writer, performer and video artist.” . by Wayne Smith — Rick Jacobsen, Owner & Curator, outside of Kiki Gallery on 14th Street, San Francisco, CA. 1994. Courtesy of the Kiki Gallery: Oral History Project.
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. #CookieMueller (March 2, 1949 – November 10, 1989) . “I was so involved with her life. I’d watch her write; I’d talk to her as a friend about whatever she was working on; I would always go to her poetry readings. I remember at St. Mark’s Church, she and #AllenGinsberg were deciding who’d go first. “Why don’t you flip a coin?” he asked me, but I didn’t know how. So he taught me. . There was that point when I became a teenager and wanted my own identity. And I wasn’t as enthusiastic about all that she was into. Especially a lot of the heavier, weirder stuff, like her selling drugs out of the apartment. I was aware of it but I was keeping my distance. I don’t know when it started, but my memory was there were always people coming in and out. A lot of friends staying over—crazy artist types, poets, including #GregoryCorso, who was my godfather. They’d come and party. They’d come from out of town. I still sleep better with the murmur of people talking. . I used to call Sharon [Cookie’s lover] “Sergeant Granny” because she kept the order. She was the only strong figure in my life. My mother was always very lenient with me. Sharon was a stricter person. . A lot of her friends were dying of AIDS. We went to a lot of funerals. #JackieCurtis’ was one of the first I remember. I was maybe a pre-teen when I knew she was sick. My mother talked about it. She treated me like an adult. Jackie’s funeral was just sad. It was on the East Side at a funeral parlor on Second Avenue. . I never imagined that she would possibly get sick and die. I was 16 when I was told she had AIDS. But she couldn’t tell me. She had my father tell me, in Provincetown. He lived there year-round. It was rough. I kind of had some suspicions; I had seen medical paperwork and stuff like that. But I was in denial about it. It wasn’t until he told me that it sank in that this was reality. I had to support her and take care of her. By this time, Sharon had been gone for years. . After my mom had her stroke, it was hard for me to deal with. Sharon came back and helped. She really stepped up. She was there until the end.” — by @maxwmueller917 via @recollectors_project