From 1980 to 1984, Artist’s Proof, a print-making studio in Cambridge, MA provided working space and collegial support for artists exploring the exploding interest in print-making. The studio mounted exhibitions, ran workshops, and published portfolios. After it disbanded, three new studios were established which owed their beginnings to Artist’s Proof: one was Artist Proof Studio modeled on and named after Artist’s Proof in Cambridge. It was founded by Kim Berman, a self-exiled South African who had become a master printer at Artist’s Proof. She returned to South Africa in 1990 with an American French Tool press and established the studio in Newtown Precinct. Kim believes that as an artist, educator and activist, she has a role to play in contributing to social transformation.
This three-part exhibit explores the notion that art can hold the possibility of saving lives and reflects the losses and devastation caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The two large etching Mourning Our Future by Kim Berman are life-sized images of wilted and dying sunflowers as metaphors of mourning; the flowers bear witness to the living with heads that face the open graves and fallen seeds, which can sprout new life.
Reclaiming Lives is a grouping of small portrait prints with each portrait pays tribute to someone who has died of an AIDS related illness.
The Embroidered Quilts extends the outreach aspects of the project by its aim to generate income for the women of South Africa. Printed fabric with images from Reclaiming our Future, a program where participating artists expressed their response to undergoing HIV testing, were embroidered and beaded by women’s groups that are linked to the Artist’s Proof Studio’s Paper Prayers Campaign for AIDS awareness.
The small works in this gallery and the adjoining gallery show prints from artists who worked at either Artist’s Proof in Cambridge or Artist’s Proof Studio in Newtown, South Africa. All the works have been donated for sale by the artists for $225 each with the proceeds for Artist’s Proof South Africa.