To inspire healthy living in the north, the ReClaimed project will be unveiled Thursday at the Fire Pit on Third Avenue.
The HIV Awareness project is a collaborative art project, bringing together thoughts, feelings, stories, struggles and successes in Prince George.
There are 16 panels in the mural, created by local artists, working towards deconstructing stereotypes and encouraging positive living in the community.
"When I took on this project, I knew it was more about the process and spreading the message behind it than the artwork itself," said organizer, artist and teacher Jennifer Pighin. "As a community project, I felt it was crucial to include as many participants as we could, so we sent out a call for participants and had more than 20 people attend the information and brainstorming sessions. Some were artists, some were people with HIV, some were people touched by HIV through loved ones and others were just interested in the project and what they could do to support it."
The initial meetings were focused on educating participants about HIV and its diverse implications. The meetings, Pighin said, were informative and gave the participants room to learn and understand more about HIV through discussions and first-hand accounts from people living with HIV.
"The results of the sessions becomes quite clear when you read the artists statements about their work," said Pighin.
Because of the time constraints it was agreed that artists would create panels individually, instead of all working on one big piece. The panels have a consistent theme and each has red in it to symbolize love for those living with HIV and black in honour of those who have lost their battle with the disease.
"The end result is intended to encourage thought-provoking dialogue, awareness and understanding with hopes of preventing the further spread of HIV and improve the lives of people with HIV by showing that they are no different than anyone else and deserve as much respect and love as anyone else does," said Pighin. "We are all human and all have basic needs to be met for our health and well being."
The ReClaimed project, in partnership with Northern health, Positive Living North: No khyoh tsihen tsehena Society and the Prince George & District Community Arts Council, will be unveiled at the Fire Pit, 1120 Third Ave.