Lange Sint Agnietenstraat 10 Dutch AIDS Memorial Quilt - block 7 since 6 February 2020
9 names
Contagious! Visiting an Exhibition on Epidemic Diseases [excerpt]
Besides fear, scapegoating is also an unfortunate part of any epidemic. Not much has changed, the exhibition tells me, between the casting out of lepers in the past and today’s prejudice against people with coronavirus or Ebola. The most heart-breaking object in this respect is the enormous memorial quilt with name flags of AIDS victims: Gunnar Paullisse with a flag made by his mother; Marcus Erich’s flag made by his sister-in-law and friend; Ad van der Donk; Domenico and Gert-Jan… Fear and stigma can seriously hamper the management of epidemics, let alone social cohesion.
While potential medicines are being explored, communication is vital in the prevention of disease. The modern concept of public health has a rich history since the nineteenth century. The exhibition displays a number of skilfully designed posters informing the public with health advice.
Photos © The Polyphony

21 September 2020
Ruben Verwaal, Netherlands