Protest and Desire is a video artwork that challenges popular STD / HIV discourse by focusing on how women of color deal with intimacy, sex, and age that relates to STDs and HIV within the landscape of white Europe. The video concentrates on an endearing 2 year portrait of, “Lillian”, a 49 year old woman from Uganda who has lived in Germany since the early 2000s as a consequence of her HIV status. Her words disentangle notions about how women of color relate to their own sexuality, interracial relationships, ideas of belonging, and their personal complexities with HIV / STDs. The work delicately unveils inherent biases that are bound to women of color and their struggle to attain acceptance both within and outside their own communities. Through dream like sequences and whimsical imagery, Protest and Desire imagines new ways to define what is normal and propels new meaning on “sickness”, desire, and relationships by confronting the ghosts of the past and the fears that haunt our present realities.
Work: 4K, 2-channel video, 19.55 min, 2019.
How can art catalyze change?:
Protest and Desire confronts social taboos that are connected to fear, class, race and sexuality. The work examines how race and STDs ( sexually transmitted diseases) function as forms of discrimination and misogyny for women and ponders how are STDs different for women and women of color within the scope of Western discourse and what does that reveal about our society? The work seeks to establish meaning and understanding on how cultural taboos can lead to fear and isolation. Ultimately, the artwork challenges people’s perception on topics that have become elusive in Germany and beyond and strives to uncover the unseen ways in which society systemically discriminates those vulnerable to oppression – women of color.