XVI International AIDS Conference (2006)

Artist's Statement

The aim of “The Washing Line” project was to encourage people to examine issues around HIV/AIDS, gender, equality and patriarchy, and to open discussions that might lead to positive changes in behaviour as a means of curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

South Africans live in a male-dominated society wherein males make the decisions, and women have little bargaining power. Younger women - between the ages of 15 and 24 years - have even less bargaining power. Condoms are not part of traditional African culture. Ignorance, lack of education, myths, stigma, poverty and poor nutrition (which lowers immunity), are all factors that contribute to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Women are especially powerless when they have children to care for, do not own a home and do not have a job. Women might choose to be monogamous, but in Africa many men are not. Prostitution is not legalised and so sex workers have no support or protection. Rape of women is a huge problem, as is the rape of children and virgins. The reality is that the number of girls and women affected with HIV and AIDS has increased in every region of the world in the last two years. Almost half of the adults living with HIV and AIDS are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of infected people are girls and women.

The Washing Line Installation 2006
Women's Networking Zone XVI, Global Village XVI,
International AIDS Conference Toronto, Canada