The annual fund-raising event benefiting the Israel AIDS Task Force (IATF ) will be held on Saturday night.
More than 600 artists will display some 800 pieces of art in an exhibit that will take place in Bank Hapoalim’s main office in Tel Aviv.
The bank is sponsoring the event.
Yuval Livnat, Executive Manager of IATF , told The Jerusalem Post that the purpose of the event is dual.
“First and foremost, it allows us to function financially. Without this event we couldn’t do much,” he said, adding that last year the event raised around NIS 1.5 million and about 25 percent of that went back to the artists.
The other advantage of the exhibit, Livnat said, is raising awareness to HIV. “People do come to see art, but along the way they get a red ribbon, they read about AIDS , they are reminded of the need to have safe sex and some may even go and get tested.”
Most of the money raised last year went to education. “We talk at schools and to young audiences, in hangout areas and clubs, mainly about prevention. We also have test centers in Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
And we have a minivan that travels around the country and offers tests for free. The money we raise also pays for social workers that provide support to HIV carriers.”
According to Livnat, there are about 6,500 people living with HIV in Israel. “But the number is much higher, as only 30% of Israelis have ever been tested for HIV.”
In the 15 years of its existence, the exhibition has grown to become one of the most outstanding initiatives in the Israeli art scene. It is also a central source of income for the IATF .
The exhibition is held in memory of Leah Rabin, the first public figure to support the campaign against AIDS.
PR executive Rani Rahav, one of the organizers, says this year the exhibit will showcase hundreds of world-renowned artists alongside the brightest upcoming stars in Israel.
Among the contributors are Yigal Tumarkin, Natan Elkanovich, Menasheh Kadishman, Ofer Lalush, Tsivi Geva, Ido Bar-El, Ziv Koren and Sammy D.
In addition, a special space is dedicated to the creations of students and teachers from Israeli art high schools – Bezalel and Shenkar – as well as a number of pieces made by residents of Kfar Idud – a special needs facility.
All income from the sales will go to the IATF , while artists selling a creation may, upon request, receive 25% of their own sales.
The exhibit is scheduled to open to the public Saturday evening, February 22, from 7-11 p.m.
HAGAI EISENBERG’S piece, which is set to be displayed in the AIDS awareness fund-raising art exhibit, is shown above. (Courtesy) Israel Aids Task Force: There are 6,500 people with Aids in Israel, but number could be higher only 30% of residents have been tested for HIV