Columbus, OH
United States
East Gay Street, between Cleveland Ave. and Connel Ave. Columbus Survivor's Knot since 3 April 2004
40 names
After the success of combined antiretroviral therapies in the late 1990's, AIDS patients lived longer but were not seen as survivors. In 2004 artist Steed Taylor decided to address this. Inspired by the expression "long-term survivor" used for cancer patients at the time, he decided to honor the resilience and perseverance of AIDS survivors, like himself, by doing a series of public artworks called Survivor's Knots. Part of his popular road tattoos series, which are commemorative, site-specific, community-based, tattoo-inspired, public artworks on roads, he developed a Celtic design based on an earlier public work which explored his mortality. Working with the Rebecca Ibel Gallery, a location was found in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus College of Art and Design offered support and a campus road in front of their Canzani Center for an installation during the annual Art for Life exhibition and fundraiser. The Columbus AIDS Task Force supplied 40 names of local long-term AIDS survivors and Home Depot supplied materials. On April 4th the daylong installation began at dawn with many student volunteers and friends of the college. By the afternoon, the road tattoo was laid out and painting had begun. Local AIDS survivors' names and the number of years surviving AIDS were written in the design using the same black latex use to paint the design. After a non-denomination prayer by Reverend Phil Hart was read, the information was painted over, sealing it in the design. The completed road tattoo became a signature public artwork on campus. Subtle, close in color to the roadway but reflective so it appeared and disappeared with passing light, the road tattoo lasted many years. Eventually traffic and weather conditions dissolved it into the road.

Columbus College of Art and Design