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Bruce House “is a non-profit service organization in support of women, men, and children living with HIV who may be dealing with addiction, mental health issues, homelessness and incarceration. They support a diverse population including members of the LGBTQ, ACB (African, Caribbean, and Black), and Indigenous communities as well as newcomers to Canada. Bruce House ensures that their clients have access to equality, housing stability, supported independence, and opportunities for healthy living.” (Source: Bruce House website).
The cover of Bruce House’s Annual Report 2022 – 2023 features Ace’s work Stop Saying HIV/AIDS is in the Past (because it is not). The work was created in 2011 to draw attention to the waning government and international support for HIV/AIDS programs, services and information, and the lack of media attention concerning the on-going impact of HIV in First World countries and the tragic state of AIDS in the Third World. Sadly, in the 12 years since the creation of this work, the situation has only become increasingly dire.
As an overtly strong political statement, the work remains uncomfortably relevant and is a reminder of the urgent need for increased advocacy and protest on all fronts, especially in light of the targeted erosion of LGBTQIP2SA+ human rights and escalating acts of violence aimed at our transgender family.
Stop saying that HIV/AIDS is in the past (because it is not) (2011), was exhibited in the Carleton University Art Gallery exhibition in 2020-2021 To Be Continued: Troubling the Queer Archive. Exhibition curators cara tierney and Anna Shah Hoque wrote: “The AIDS pandemic has had a ravaging effect on the queer community. From its outbreak in the 80s and up until today, it continues to affect those most disproportionately marginalized by the larger structural inequities that govern contemporary society. Historically, the impact on the queer community meant severe losses at the level of the individual and the collective. Musicians, playwrights, visual artists, dancers – creatives of all disciplines, as well as their audiences struggled to keep each other alive and provide dignified deaths in the face of overwhelming social neglect amplified by the homophobic and racist attitudes that govern the public response towards sexuality and illness.
The introduction of a treatment (seen here in the ubiquitous blue and white AZT pill) while providing a framework for the development of sustainable management of the virus has been accompanied by the ongoing task of continuing to educate a larger population whose stigmatization of the virus has an inordinate wall of ignorance to overcome. The “state of emergency” public discourse pronounced in the early days of the pandemic, like other forms of socially secured rights and stability, has since subsided which again, fosters the neglect to support those most strongly affected who continue to suffer.”
Please consider making a charitable donation to Bruce House (here).
Also see Nigig News 2023: Ace and Heffel Donate Proceeds of “Erased” to Bruce House (Ottawa).