In 2000, an exhibition was held in Lucan, Ontario, Canada to show a portfolio of work by internationally known artists entitled “Africus – The First Johannesburg Biennale”. This collection was created to express the artists’ thoughts and feelings about the fall of apartheid in South Africa, and its effects on society worldwide.  The High Commissioner of South Africa, Andre Jaquet, opened the Lucan show, which contained work by Canadian Artist Hendrikus Bervoets.  Mr. Jaquet’s speech, which discussed both the end of apartheid as well as the overwhelming impact of AIDS in South Africa, had a tremendous impact on Hendrikus Bervoets, and many others at the opening.  Along with the support of Mr. Jaquet and others, Hendrikus Bervoets founded the Art for AIDS International organization immediately thereafter to assist children affected by HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.  The organization was officially recognized by the Canadian Government as non-profit in 2001.

The International Portfolio

The first Art for AIDS project was the Artists International Direct Support portfolio.  This project involved twenty-five artists from around the world each creating and donating 100 handmade limited edition prints focused on addressing the subject of HIV and AIDS.  Once these prints were received by Art for AIDS International the production and creation of portfolio sets began which would be exhibited and sold to raise funds for children affected by HIV and AIDS as well as awareness about the impact that HIV and AIDS was, and is continuing to  have globally.

Kids for Kids Collage Portfolios 

In 2001, Art for AIDS International hosted its first series of workshops at the secondary school level in collaboration with the London District Catholic School Board in Canada.  These workshops focused on educating students about the causes and complex effects of HIV and AIDS while using visual arts as a catalyst for projecting the opinions, hopes, and fears of the student participants.  Following these initial workshops it was clear that the Kids for Kids portfolio project had to become the central focus of Art for AIDS International as it allowed us to engage and inform young people through the powerful yet often underused medium of collage.  Following each workshop, the student produced collages are printed as machine-made limited edition prints, each hand-signed, that are sold with all funds raised supporting grassroots projects in sub-Saharan Africa working with women and children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Art for AIDS Gallery

In September 2008, Art for AIDS International opened the Art for AIDS International Gallery.  This gallery, located in downtown London Ontario, has enabled us to host a permanent exhibit of art made by young people from around the world.  Alongside the Kids for Kids portfolios, the Artists International Direct Support portfolio is also exhibited and available for purchase.