April 30 – June 6, 2009
In the Project Room

Known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea,” Odessa is the port city of the Ukraine, one of the cities most severely affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The AIDS epidemic there is symptomatic of the problems facing the country. According to estimates, 160,000 individuals in the city are infected with HIV–a staggering number for a total population of one million. Yet, despite its magnitude, AIDS remains a taboo subject in the public mind, and many people infected with the virus attempt to conceal their illness from their family out of a sense of shame and fear. The Ukrainian health-care system was caught completely unprepared to deal with such an aggressive epidemic, and the crisis continues simply to amplify.

Touched by an article about the plight that she saw in the German newspaper, “Die Zeit,” artist Andrea Diefenbach set out to document the situation and raise awareness of the Ukraine’s predicament. Her quiet, empathetic photo-graphic series focuses upon the acute epidemic in Odessa, the scale of which is virtually unknown in the West.

The exhibition coincides with the release of the monograph of the same title from Hatje Cantz, 160 pp., 100 color illus, $45.

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