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Alumni News |
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Jan, 2020

RU Alumni Kairon Liu interviewed in Vogue

Image credit: Kairon Liu

RU Alumni, Kairon Liu, was recently interviewed by Liam Freeman for the Vogue article, Thinking Positive: what it's like living with HIV today

When the virus first emerged in the 1980s, it invariably led to AIDS and loss of life. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, but the battle is not yet won. Vogue speaks to five creative forces who are using their voice and personal experiences to end to the stigma surrounding the ongoing pandemic.

Kairon Liu

The 27-year-old Taipei-based photographer is a graduate of Shih Hsin University and works as an artist, curator, and photographer. Since 2017, Kairon Liu has been developing Humans as Hosts—a project in collaboration with social networks, NGOs, and public health authorities around the world consisting of portraits and interviews with people living with HIV. “I want people to know what we feel in our everyday lives and how we stay alive with the virus and stigma,” he says. This is the first time he has spoken publicly about his own positive status."

“Before 2015, my work was more about observing religion and contemporary beliefs but since my diagnosis, I’ve become more spiritual. My friend—the subject of many of my photographs—has the alias ‘Tree’ because when I was sick, I saw myself as a tree trunk being cut-off, nothing was left but the roots, but as I got better the leaves and branches grew back.”

“In 2017, I did a residency at Pier-2 Art Center in Kaohsiung—the south of Taiwan where I got the idea for Humans as Hosts and so began my journey as a visual artist living with HIV. HIV/AIDS activism in Taiwan is geared more towards an individual’s physical health rather than creating a dialogue about the individual’s mental status, making it quite isolating. Through research, I came across Visual AIDS, which led me to Residency Unlimited in New York in 2018."

“I never thought I would become a full-time artist or even the curator, but my experiences have made me who I am now. Every day, people living with HIV take medication to keep them healthy and it’s a constant reminder that you’re different—just because you’re staying alive physically, doesn’t mean you are mentally. By disclosing my status I want to create bridges between people living with HIV."

“Right now, I’m doing this interview with you. Then I’m going to finish planning for the exhibition Interminable Prescriptions for the Plague I’m curating at MOCA Taipei. I have a full-time job and work as an artist; I’m in the process of applying to do MFAs in Chicago and London—it’s busy."

“Man, I don’t know if I’m living a healthy life, I’ve always been a workaholic, but I sure am living a meaningful one.”

Read the full article here.

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