The “Boundary Health Unit in Surrey tested 135 people positive for AIDS in the first quarter of this year, compared to 19 people for all of 1990. Many people are tested in Vancouver, so the numbers don't mean there's a proportional increase, but it does prove AIDS is in the community, [Jim] Bennett [director of Surrey's Street Health Outreach program], said.”
(Surrey / North Delta Leader, Sunday 20, 1995. p.B1)
November 20, 1995
This exhibition is the follow-up of five previous annual art shows organized by Julie Malher, president of the Djaef Malher AIDS Benefit Society, after seeing many of her son's friends die of AIDS. Julie felt she needed to raise money for the AIDS Society. It was in 1989 that the first show called “Flame of Hope” was born. Two years later she lost son Djaef, 33 years old. At the time she did not know her son had AIDS. She suspects he was HIV positive when he left for Toronto in 1987 without mentioning his illness in order not to worry the family.
This time, however, the exhibition has the sole purpose of rasing awareness to the HIV / AIDS issue. For this reason artists were invited to create an artwork on the theme itself. It wasn't without difficulty that they engaged in the role of expressing their feelings, concerns or understanding on such a serious matter. They have had to read, research and study the theme before attempting to conceptualize the work. This proves how little we know about HIV / AIDS but at the same time it shows we all take it at heart once we are faced with the issue and this is because we are all concerned. HIV / AIDS is everywhere. Anyone can be a victim — gays, heterosexuals, hemophiliacs, straight people or drug addicts. It can happen to a friends, a neighbour, you and me. People need to realize that more and more people are being affected by this devastating disease.
President of the Djaef Malher AIDS Benefit Society
"For Bradford McIntyre, the guest speaker at the opening reception of this exhibition, the HIV virus is not a death sentence. Brad, 42, has lived with HIV for over a decade. The first four years were a living hell. But then, he chose to get on with his life. Facing a life threatening illness makes you appreciate life, he says. McIntyre was diagnosed with the virus linked to AIDS in 1984. On November 28th 1985, he was given six months to live. On the anniversary, every year, he now organizes a party, A Celebration Of LIfe” wrote Julie Malher in the Djaef Malher AIDS Benefit Society's Newsletter, July 1995. McIntyre has incorporated into his life many positive approaches and techniques to healing such as a healthy diet, medication, body rebalancing, working with light and many others.
We, the Djaef Malher AIDS Society and participating artists, hope this exhbition will raise enough awareness to the HIV / AIDS issue as to make some difference along the way.
"Reproduced with permission - Flame of Hope :: Djaef Malher AIDS Benefit Society"
Flame of Hope :: Djaef Malher AIDS Benefit Society"