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Not me – HIV does not discriminate

The complete devastation once a woman learns she is HIV positive is captured in all the images of a photographic essay by Leonie Marinova.

The complete devastation once a woman learns she is HIV positive is captured in all the images of a photographic essay by Leonie Marinova.

Not me – Not mine, a photographic essay of HIV- positive women from Namibia and South Africa is an effort to highlight the exceptional vulnerability to HIV of women and girls in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Today, more than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, women and girls account for nearly half of the 33 million people living with HIV worldwide, but in sub-Saharan Africa, women constitute 60 % of all the people living with the disease.
Photographer Leonie Marinovi,said that when planning the shoot her intent was to strip as much as possible of the environmental ‘coding’ from the subjects, taking the women out of their environment so that they can be looked at as women, first and foremost. She said she decided to do the portraits in black and white, the richness of the colours would have been too distracting from the women as individuals. ‘I wanted to force people to look at and relate to them as individual women, minimizing background, status, race, complexion and other visual codes we use to judge people”.
In most instances the photo shoot was followed by an extended interview sometimes over a couple of days as some of the women tired physically as a result of their HIV status. Others were emotionally exhausted by the process.
The title of the exhibition derives from one of the quotes given to Leonie by Anne Leon, who when asked why women still get infected despite the information available and the courage of people who speak openly about their status. answered “Never me, Never mine,” referring to the way that most everybody seems to think that HIV won’t happen to them or those close to them.
The exhibition opens on Monday 2 July at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre Gallery and will run until 26 July. Entrance is free.

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