In honour of #WorldAIDSDay we have created a mini collection of films featuring artists who created while living with AIDS.
In 2004, after 27 years living with AIDS, award winning Canadian painter, Joe Average enters into a therapeutic photography project with fellow artist jamie griffiths in order to keep making art, after feeling no longer able to paint. Although the initial intention was to make art and express his feelings, the film succeeds in bringing to light the shocking reality of Lipoatrophy; the medication-induced side effect of body wasting. i see the fear is about the loneliness of a degenerative life threatening illness. It is about the healing power of art, the artistic creative drive for self-expression and about the dual use of art by artists as a powerful social tool for education, bringing an important message to a 'post-AIDS' western world, that AIDS cocktails do not magically return you to a 'normal' life. i see the fear challenges the audience to look more deeply at their prejudices and misconceptions.
It's 1969, the summer of love. In Toronto, three young Canadian artists come together to form a collective called GENERAL IDEA. They change their names and adopt new personas to become Jorge Zontal, AA Bronson and Felix Partz. They are gay and irreverent, and they launch The Miss General Idea Pageant to investigate the nature of glamour and celebrity. Fully utilizing their ironic camp sensibility, the trio present themselves as Art Stars. They publish an art magazine called FILE, for which they gain notoriety and prompt a lawsuit from LIFE magazine for simulation of LIFE. It isn't until three years later that Andy Warhol publishes the like-minded INTERVIEW. GENERAL IDEA achieves celebrity status in Europe in the 1970s. Treated like rock stars, they exhibit in major museums in Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris and are invited to make video-art for Dutch television. The 1980s bring the first labeled cases of AIDS. GENERAL IDEA responds by making art that addresses the plague virus. In an unforgettable coup, it appropriates the well-known LOVE painting by Robert Indiana and replaces those four letters with AIDS, for the now world-famous logo. GENERAL IDEA continues to tour Europe and North America with massive political installation pieces that chronicle the devastating spread of the disease and its impact on their community, including an early end to the lives of two members of GENERAL IDEA. AA Bronson, the sole survivor of GENERAL IDEA, narrates this documentary lending personal relevancy to a poignant story of art and sexual politics. GENERAL IDEA: Art, AIDS and the fin de siècle is a tale of love, fame, overwhelming loss and, ultimately, of renewal.
From his rural beginnings on a farm in Alberta, Larry Lillo achieved a luminous 25-year career in Canadian theatre. As an actor, director and artistic director, he became widely celebrated as Canada's Golden Boy - a daring visionary who inspired audiences, critics, and colleagues alike. His unique approach to creating memorable theatre is captured as the film follows his final directorial effort: Macbeth for the Vancouver Playhouse. During the making of this film he died of AIDS; yet his passion, insight and joy transcend the debilitating effects of the disease. His contributions to theatre are discussed by leading Canadian stage artists and critics, including Urjo Kareda, Eric Peterson, John Gray, Martha Henry, Christopher Newton, John Murrell, Morris Panych, Nicola Cavendish, David Watmough, and Colin Thomas. This moving celebration of Lillo's approach to living and to the creative process reveals how the moment to moment essence of theatre becomes one with the ephemeral quality of life -- it will not last the night.