An artist's impressions

Seven Lives Worth Living

Over the past few months, Lives in Focus has posted photographs and video of people living with HIV/AIDS in India. Srinivas Kuruganti’s photographs capture scenes with only available light and the videos depict people without any special effects.

The series of images here present an artist’s impressions of people affected by the epidemic. The artist Anna Bhushan writes about the work:

I have been traveling to India every year for the last 10 years to visit my family in Hyderabad but until 2003 when I met Srinivas, I, like so many others both in India and abroad, had no idea of the scale
of the HIV epidemic in India.

On my first visit to Freedom Foundation, I spent the afternoon playing with the children there, it was a deeply moving experience and I was so touched by their trust and need for affection, even from a total stranger.

When I returned to London I made a series of portraits based on Srinivas’s photos and my memories of visits to the clinic, which I later turned into, “Seven Lives Worth Living” which was shown at the Royal College of Art summer show in 2004.

The monologues are translated and edited (but not changed) interviews conducted by Srinivas with patients at the clinic and their words, although deeply personal, bring attention to some general social issues associated with the disease.

For instance, Tajunisa’s tragic description of her attempt to kill herself with her three sons and her
belief that her suffering is “God’s wish”, relates to the findings of a 2001 UNAIDS survey in which “36 percent of people felt it would be better if infected people killed themselves and that infected people deserved their fate…34% said they would not associate with people with AIDS, and one fifth stated that AIDS was a punishment from God.” (from avert.org).

Other voices touch on issues of shame, concealment as well as alienation and maltreatment from family and society.

The words and illustrations in this audio slideshow are from “Seven Lives Worth Living.” For more work by Bhushan, please visit her Website: rawmango.com.

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