As a woman living with HIV, Jessica Whitbread’s passion lies with her community, leading her to work extensively in the area of HIV activism at a grassroots level through advocacy and program development. Her work is rooted in developing opportunities for other women to come together in a traditional setting to discuss issues and histories in a manner that is personal, intimate, and supersedes technology. Stories are shared, written down, and compiled. To this end, Whitbread sponsors traditional “tea parties”; using them as a vehicle for story sharing and social change. Like Rasmuson Artist-in-Residence Maria Shell, Whitbread draws from established traditions that are associated with femininity and domesticity; bringing forward powerful dialogues pointed at pertinent issues.
During her residency at McColl Center, Whitbread will extend the conversation beyond HIV to include long-term psychological impacts associated with trauma. How do these events show up later in life and how do they inform the navigation of relationships? Through a series of open forums, both at the Center and in the community, Whitbread will lead discussions and story sharing opportunities that aim to empower participants toward understanding and healing.
Whitbread is the Global Chair for the International Community of Women Living with HIV, the founder of the first International Chapter of Young Women, Adolescents and Girls living with HIV as well as a Steering Committee member for AIDS ACTION NOW! Her residency will be held in conjunction with Re/Presentations of HIV/AIDS, an exhibition of the myriad ways HIV/AIDS, has been represented in contemporary art at the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson, NC.
Residency Type Wesley Mancini Alumni Artist-in-Residence
Currently Based Toronto, Canada
Residency Dates Sep 1 — Nov 25 2014