Russell Tovey raises awareness towards the ongoing AIDS crisis through a film and exhibition

Russell Tovey raises awareness towards the ongoing AIDS crisis through a film and exhibition

by Juliette Eleuterio
2 min

Russell Tovey, the English actor best known for his role in Being Human, is also an enthusiast and connoisseur of the world of art, including curating a Sotheby’s art auction last year and co-hosting the podcast TalkArt. His latest undertaking might be his largest yet, as Tovey is guest-curating an exhibition in Shoreditch, as well as releasing a documentary, surrounding the AIDS crisis.

Tovey has joined WePresent, WeTransfer’s art platform, to release the Life is Excellent documentary-style film. The film centres around a hero of Tovey’s, the British poet and artist David Robilliard, who passed away when he was 36 years old in 1988, during the AIDS crisis.

In the film, Tovey keeps Robilliard’s legacy alive by meeting with friends, collaborators and colleagues of his, giving us a complete story of the man behind the painted canvases and quick-witted poetry. The film also highlights some of Robilliard’s most famous works, such as Wondering What To Do This Evening (1987), tracing the steps back from his personal to artistic life.

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In line with the documentary’s release, a Shoreditch-based exhibition, titled “We Move in Circles,” will also open, between November 23 and 25. Open to the public and free, the exhibition will focus around the activism that followed the AIDS crisis. Life is Excellent will be shown within the space, as well as a series of T-shirts curated with PAST Magazine, for a display titled Say It With Your Chest: T-Shirts of Queer Protest and Rebellion.

The T-shirt display includes Keith Haring original designs, the Silence=Death project by NYC-based collective ACT UP, and graphics from Never Going Underground, Manchester’s rebellious response to Section 28 (the legal prohibition of the “promotion of homosexuality” across the UK, introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988) . Each selected design showcases the power of artistry and graphic-printed T-shirts as a canvas for protest.

The Russell Tovey-curated exhibition and film serve as both a reminder to those who have been affected by the crisis, as well as a reminder of the fact that HIV still affects countless people to this day. The film will be made available to stream on WePresent and the exhibition will open on November 23, on 133 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG, London.

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