Bypassing Literacy using Sculptural Forms


Bypassing Literacy using Sculptural Forms /Household Objects as a Communication Tool in the Fight against HIV/AIDS


Lilian Mary Nabulime

Keywords: HIV, Sculpture, Household objects, communication, Art, MTSIFA, Lilian Nabulime
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Uganda has made dramatic improvements in reducing the prevalence of HIV and has been at the forefront in the global fight of HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness, and advocacy. HIV infection rates currently stand at around 10% of the adult population. HIV has no cure yet and Uganda is a developing country without sophisticated health systems and in addition the effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not accessible to all Ugandans especially in the rural areas[1]. Ignorance and stigma attached to the disease are still major obstacles to any successful campaign in Uganda and the numbers of HIV/AIDS infections are again on increase. This reveals that HIV/AIDS is a disease that can be linked to complexities of human behaviors and social conditions. This challenges societies and culture on complexities of human behavior and social conditions regarding human assumption on sexuality, gender relations and vulnerability of marginalised groups. It is also noted that even in industrialised countries which thought they had managed to curb the epidemic; the numbers are on the rise (Uganda AIDS commission reports 2013, Di Christoph Benn 2010[2], Uganda Pulse 2012[3]).

The manual focuses on the use of Sculptural Forms/Household objects (e.g. Transparent Soap Sculptures soap, sieves, baskets) to raise HIV/AIDS awareness, bypassing issues of literacy and media access. I have revised, selected and organized the content from my practice based Ph.D. fieldwork “The Role of Sculptural Forms as a Communication Tool in Relation to the Lives and Experiences of Women with HIV/AIDS in Uganda”. As a practicing Ugandan artist I am interested in using art to address public health, and have developed a range of sculptures that use everyday materials in order to raise awareness and promote discussion around HIV/AIDS that will aim at reduce HIV/AIDs infections over come stigma, denial, seek HIV/AIDS counseling services, testing and treatment.


[1] New Vision news, Uganda paper (2010), HIV treatments costly, says experts.  1/12/2010

[2] Di Christoph Benn, A solidarity that embraces the  whole world. In Rodolfo Casadei (Ed) (2010), Irene’s Eyes: Prevention and fighting AIDS the first-hand experience of an Italian NGO, Guerin Eassociati, Milano, Itally.

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