Amsterdam’s new monument will countdown the days until the world is HIV and AIDS free
The Dutch Capital has unveiled the abacus that is counting down to the day the world will be free of HIV and AIDS.
The sculpture is called “Living by numbers” and designed by the gay, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.
A spokesperson said: “The monument is a beacon of hope and support to anyone living with HIV.
“it is a tribute to all buddies, supporters, medical employees, activists and scientists. Moreover it is also a memorial, dedicated to all loved ones who have died of AIDS.”
The handmade beads ensure no bead is the same to reflect the diverse LGBT community and the number of beads will be altered every year for the countdown.
It will not only be counting down it will also create a scenic space, reflecting the light at the bank of the river IJ through the glass beads.
The project leaders chose Amsterdam to host the sculpture because the “city has been and is a sanctuary for many people with HIV who were not welcome in their own countries.”
The location by the river IJ was chosen because of its history “Sailors did not only exchange goods; they also exchanged diseases such as syphilis in the fifteenth century and plague in the seventeenth century. In that way the river IJ reflects almost tangibly the international dimension of AIDS.”
Even the area around it has an LGBT history “For gay men the eastern side of the quay was a popular car-cruising-area and Café West-Indië – no longer existing – at De Ruyterkade 110 was the meeting point of Motor Sportclub Amsterdam, a motor club for gay people.”
NAMES Project Netherlands Foundation, who aim to spread awareness, initiated the creation of the monument and came to be through a number of sponsorships and a crowdfunding campaign.
It was unveiled by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, Mr Othoniel and Louise van Deth, managing director of AIDS Fonds (AIDS Foundation) the Netherlands.