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The Culture of AIDS in AfricaHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts$
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Gregory Barz and Judah Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 October 2021

Aesthetics and Activism

Aesthetics and Activism

Gideon Mendel and The Politics of Photographing the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in South Africa

(p.215) 18 Aesthetics and Activism
The Culture of AIDS in Africa

Michael Godby

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the politics of photographing the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa by focusing on Gideon Mendel, a photojournalist entirely committed to biomedical treatment of the pandemic. Mendel has spent much of his career documenting the impact of HIV/AIDS on the people of South Africa, his native country. More than merely documenting, however, Mendel has served for many as a prototypical model for artist-as-activist, using his photography to effect social change in arenas such as advocacy for access to antiretroviral therapies, and contributing to or fostering broader political campaigns (such as those related to the Treatment Action Campaign). This chapter considers Mendel’s attempt to change the balance of power that exists between photographers and their subjects.

Keywords:   politics, HIV/AIDS, South Africa, Gideon Mendel, photojournalist, artist-as-activist, photography, social change, antiretroviral therapies, political campaigns

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