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Striking New HIV Monument Coming to Ireland

Dublin pictured via Pexels

The "Embraced Loop" is a different take on the typical AIDS memorial.

Two Irish artists have been awarded funding for a new national HIV monument slated to be installed in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2023.

Anaisa Franco and Michael R. DiCarlo took the commission after enduring a two-stage competition. The Irish Times reported funding comes by the overnight committee for the monument, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach.

The concept, entitled “Embraced Loop,” takes the symbolic HIV red ribbon and creates an embrace of solidarity. The purpose will be remembrance for those who have died and celebrate their lives and contributions to society.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin noted the momument will “raise collective awareness while also creating a fitting and inclusive space for people to gather, to remember and reflect.”

With nearly 40 years passing since the first case of HIV in Ireland, gay Tánaiste Leo Varadkar — slated to soon be Ireland's next leader — said, “The huge improvements in treatment since then mean that HIV, once treated, is now a chronic illness that cannot be transmitted to others, rather than a terminal one. However, it continues to be one of the most stigmatized medical conditions, placing a burden on families and communities.”

The HIV and AIDS monument oversight committee behind the funding was established in 2021 to oversee the design and production of the momument. The competition to find the artists was conducted by the Office of Public Works, who began with 26 eligible submissions before deciding on the final two.

After being chosen by a jury in November, the winners were announced in December 2022, with the financial value of the commission coming in at €200,000 ($212,000.

The jury committee noted the project has “universal appeal, is ambitious and aesthetically strong, and that the artists displayed a thorough understanding of the brief.”

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Andrew J. Stillman