Ending HIV Stigma through Art

Unveiling of Statue June 25th 12:30pm

June 23, 2023

Under My Skin: We Are One

Acclaimed Florida Artist Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti is introducing to the World his public art piece called UNDER MY SKIN: WE ARE ONE. Its public art piece is presented as a safe space at St. Mary Magdalene and St. Martin Episcopalian Church in Coral Spring FL where members of this congregation and the wider community can integrate about God’s name, to pray, love, and be the light of the life for people who test positive for HIV.

What: THE UNVEILING OF UNDER MY SKIN: WE ARE ONE. An event that materializes the intersection of art, faith, and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-HIV.
Where: 1400 Riverside Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33071
When: June 25, 2023, 12:30 pm

This Sculpture is one of the Three public arts created by the Art project for HIV stigma reduction called Debajo de mi Piel/Under My Skin. It is led by the Colombian American Multidisciplinary Artist Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti and founded by the Gilead Compass Initiative, Faith Coordinating Center of Wake Forest University School of Divinity July 2022-June2023. UNDER MY SKIN: WE ARE ONE has been created using Apontesierra’s paper manipulation fine art technique, founded objects, and mixed media. Its portraits a woman wearing a couture red dress, showing the stigmata on her hands. Her left hand inviting to stop the Stigma and the right hand protecting the community represented by the art created by Sts. MM&’s members.

Apontesierra, Father Lee Davis, and Mother Diana Garcia will unveil and discuss this artwork at an event on Sunday, June 25th at 12:30, where attendees will have a chance to meet the artist and hear more about the project. The artwork is a contribution to ongoing anti-stigma efforts related to HIV and weaves together the intersections of faith, HIV, and community. This sculpture has a component created by members of the congregation, integrated into the sculpture by the creativity of the artist in the shape of flowers. It shows how community play a critical role in changing the narrative about HIV stigma.

Artist Statement

I believe that humanity was created in the image of God, and I see the human body as the most powerful divine creation. This belief helps me integrate faith into my art. I love to share my art in the form of the human body, which is the temple, the church, and the home of my God. I agree that God shows us in many forms and ways, and each of us calls our God by different names, yet I believe that God is ONE who loves and protects the divine creation. God's believers are a community of faith, and we should not reject the sick or expel them from
the community, we must be an instrument of healing and growth, we are all essential. God's children should not attack those who are suffering but should enable them to find their way to healing and truth.

Faith communities should not become places that promote fear or misinformation. The truth and facts about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are simple and straightforward science. Stigma is based on fear and lack of knowledge. I believe that the faith community should never fear HIV or blame others, but that we could develop a basic understanding of this virus that for more than 40 years has been killing our brothers and sisters regardless of faith, religious affiliation, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, culture or country of origin, age, and any other labels we humans give ourselves. I like to present Under my Skin: WE ARE ONE: It is my public art piece presented as a safe space at St. Mary Magdalene and St. Martin. Here members of the congregation and the wider community can integrate about God's name to pray, love, and be the light of life for people who test positive for HIV and AIDS. Godly divine love is selfless and concerned with the well-being of the human body and all living beings; with my art I am trying to do the same. - Emilio Apontesierra-Paretti

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