In May 2019, six individuals living with HIV came together for the second Through Positive Eyes workshop in Los Angeles since the project's inception. Building on the success of live Banishing Stigma storytelling experiences at Through Positive Eyes exhibitions in South Africa, the artivists (arts-activists) crafted photo-based personal narratives specifically designed to reach audiences at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. From September 2019 to February 2020, the Fowler Museum was host to Through Positive Eyes and held public programs which incorporated live storytelling in the gallery. This multitude of perspectives and voices coalesce around one core tenet: a belief that challenging stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS is the most effective method for combating the epidemic.

Joey

Joey

I remember the first time I saw a Kaposi’s Sarcoma lesion in real life. I had seen photographs of the small purplish spots, the first symptom of AIDS, in the early 1980s. But in the summer of ’82, …

Kelly

Kelly

I was 23 when I was first diagnosed with HIV. There were millions of thoughts swirling through my head, from shit, when am I going to die, to, am I ever going to get laid again. An HIV diagnosis is a …

Lynnea

Lynnea

When I walked in the house, he was in the bedroom with his phone in his hand. He put it down as soon as he saw me. I heard his text message alert—ding!—and a few minutes later ding! ding! I saw him …

Porchia

Porchia

My name is Porchia Dees, and I am a Beautiful Black Queen Living with HIV. It has taken a long time for me to come to terms with that double statement, because the concepts of Beauty and HIV don’t …

Thomas

Thomas

Some people think I’m a little too open about my own experiences, but that’s the way I am. So let’s get this out of the way: I got HIV through unprotected receptive anal sex—and it was great. Is that …

Vas

Vas

We’re breathing together. We’re alive. Did you know today is a gift? That’s why we call it the present. The easiest thing we can do to transform fear is to stop, and breathe. When we breathe in …

Supporters

Through Positive Eyes in Los Angeles was organized in partnership with the Fowler Museum at UCLA. The workshop and exhibition were made possible by major funding from the Herb Ritts Foundation. It was also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a gift from Elizabeth and Graeme Gilfillan in honor of Sarah Gilfillan.