Niccolo Cosme opened XIV, a collaborative exhibit in commemoration of World’s Aids Day last December 1. The 14-piece visual art series depicts the 14 Stations of the Cross inspired by the life stories of persons living with HIV. The captivating images resonate triumph and dignity despite the pain and suffering caused by stigma, apathy, and discrimination towards HIV and AIDS.

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I, II, and III from the XIV exhibit
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XII, XII, and XIV
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VIII and IX
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Heart Evangelista-Escudero and AA Patawaran

The visual art series was a collaboration of Niccolo Cosme together with various artists, including Jeremiah Pena, Eldridge Que, Alvin Adriano, Nat Manilag, Nichole Austria, Bong Lee, Brian Moreno, Anthony Falcon, Bea Rose Santiago, Angel Jones, Marc Nash, Jomelle Era, Kare Adea, and Arvin Trinidad. “I initially wanted people afloat in the pieces which is why I mainly used ballet dancers in most of the pieces. It is very much baroque and renaissance inspired since my work discipline is deeply rooted in those styles,” says Niccolo. “I got each of the stations theme and interpreted it in the context of HIV and AIDS. For example the agony in the garden, the story is reflective of struggles, internal and external and used that imagery to depict the personal struggles of people affected by HIV and AIDS,” he adds. Eleven pieces from the exhibit were painted with HIV positive blood to allow viewers to confront their prejudice on the subject matter.

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VI with HIV positive blood stains

Life stories of people living with HIV and AIDs were articulated through emotional live spoken word performances by actors Anthony Falcon, Iza Calzado and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and through videos with voices of Cherie Gil and Jc Santos depicting the themes of the various Stations of the Cross written by spoken art groups Romancing Venus by Kooky Tuason and Words Anonymous. The moving performances left the crowd teary eyed.

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Spoken word performance by actor Anthony Falcon
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Spoken word performance by actress Iza Calzado
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Anna Maria Perez de Tagle
The Red Whistle's Benedict Bernabe with Niccolo Cosme
The Red Whistle’s Benedict Bernabe with Niccolo Cosme

During the same day, Project Headshot Clinic, a social media platform for photography and advocacy founded by Niccolo Cosme in 2008 which has included HIV as part of its advocacy, also launched online on World AIDS Day. Now in its ninth year, Headshot Clinic continues to create awareness on HIV and AIDS through social media with the support of celebrities and advocates.

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Niccolo Cosme holding a Sweetie Darling cocktail

In support for World Aids and XIV Exhibit, Sweetie Darling, a special cocktail created by Hooch and drinkmanila.com was served during the launch. The red cocktail was made with raspberry, vodka, elderflower liqueur, and mint. 

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Sweetie Darling
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Heart Evangelista-Escudero
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Iza Calzado
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AA Patawaran and Kooky Tuason
Odj Manusig, Odick Ong, Nichole Austria, JM Martinez, Ra Cortes, Niccolo Cosme, and Nat Manilag
Anthony Falcon and Brian Moreno wearing pink stickers on their faces as part of a social experiment during the event. “Stigma in generall is a mark, explains Niccolo. “We wanted people to experience being looked at or noticed because of a mark.”

The exhibit was made possible by Save The Children Philippines and The Red Whistle in partnership with UNAIDS. Visit www.Facebook.com/Headshotclinic for the latest series of Headshot Clinic. They 14 images are for sale and open for viewing at the Pineapple Lab (located at 6071 Palma Street, Makati) until end of the month.


Photos and video by Star Sabroso

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