Jessica Whitbread Visual AIDS Print+ Edition tote bag Artist Statement:
"As time passes for many of us who have been involved in the AIDS movement either living with or loving those with HIV, it becomes challenging to remember life before our initial introduction to HIV—those days of blissful ignorance, whether as a child before your parents told you, a lover on a one-night stand, or before “that time...”. Reflection into the past is not necessarily a pleasant experience, but with rose-tinted glasses our dreams of what has possibly been taken from us in exchange for HIV brings heaviness to our already emotionally difficult lives. Inspired by the dreams of those not with us and those still pushing through, the piece compels us to analyze our own person experiences of HIV in our lives, allowing us to dream past, present, and future."
Jessica Whitbread, as a queer woman living with HIV, explores her own sexuality and curiosity, often in public places, in hopes of making it easier for others to do the same. Jessica has a Masters from York University in Building Communities to Ignite Social Change. She works in the realm of social practice and community art, often merging art and activism to engage a diversity of audiences in critical dialogue. Her ongoing projects include LOVE POSITIVE WOMEN: Romance Starts at Home, No Pants No Problem, Tea Time, and PosterVIRUS (AIDS ACTION NOW!). Whitbread is currently the Global Community Relations & Mobilization Manager for the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), a board member of the Canadian HIV Legal Network, a member of the Steering Committee for AIDS ACTION NOW!, and a Visual AIDS Artist+ Member.