Safe Sex Is Cool: Art That Commands Awareness
To be forever young… free of the weight of the world, time in abundance and a Pandora’s box of new experiences to be known; everything and anything is possible. With short-sighted eyes, life is uncomplicated, self-gratifying and delicious. Coming-of-age and feeling invincible, who is to know what the world will be a decade, or three, down the line - and who cares? To be forever young.
Yet, life-altering experiences don’t discriminate against age. KIDS – the cult-film capturing 90s New York youth culture – reaches its 23rd anniversary this year. Harrowing, gritty and real, director Larry Clark and writer Harmony Korine’s work in bringing light to a generation of street kids also serves as an unadorned wakeup call. What happens when children play with adult matters, namely sex and STDs? For one character, one time is all it takes for life to suddenly appear dismally shorter. Living the moment, chasing new highs - contracting diseases and questioning death is never a thought for these young minds.
Moved by this stark depiction of the repercussions into innocent forays, artists Justin Thomas Ladhar and Rebelstilskin feel a responsibility. Having lived their own realities of a KIDS life, the themes explored in the film hit close to home. Carrying the spirit of a dear friend infected with HIV, these two young creators seek to remedy the silence around safe sex. Where formal education lacks in its duty, their comrade’s words, “use me as an example”, are the spur for creating something everyone can take from.
Sparking a new conversation, Safe Sex Is Cool is a display of the film’s iconic moments captured in acrylic-coated canvas and hand-pulled, screen-printed posters. Conveying scenes through bright, mesmeric works, the installation will be accompanied by an exclusive interactive piece that guests can engage and take photos with. Spread across 4th and 5th May, the walls at Good Mother Gallery are set to come vividly alive. 5pm – 11pm each day, the artists invite all walks of life to immerse in their tribute to KIDS and, indeed, the kids of today.
T-shirts and art will be for sale as well as 500 free condoms for all.
For the artists of this exhibit, their story is nothing short of compelling as the film that brought the two together. With a mutual love for KIDS and a shared difficult upbringing, art is the one privilege that colours their worlds. Justin Thomas Ladhar and Rebelstilskin are both California-based creatives who have worked over several years to produce their very first show together, Safe Sex Is Cool. For Rebelstilskin, his Psychedelic experiences, and dream encounters inspired his craft, colour and paint are his way of bringing light to dark spaces; now filmmaker, painter and founder of Golden Pyramids Art Collective. Justin is currently focused on multimedia design and folk art. He lives and works in the Bay Area where he enjoys watching combat sports and collecting antiques.
Kids Show, Safe Sex Is Cool, Saturday May 4th 2019