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Qtopia Sydney announces partnership with National Art School

November 19, 2022

Qtopia Sydney and the National Art School (NAS) are proud to announce a partnership to realise a restaging of St Vincent’s Hospital’s Ward 17 South.

The installation will be curated to coincide with Sydney WorldPride 2023 from 17 February – 5 March 2023 at NAS’ Darlinghurst campus, featuring historical and archival objects, imagery, video, and audio to tell some of the stories of this significant period within Australia’s history.

“Between 1984 and 2000, the first dedicated HIV/Aids unit in Australia – Ward 17 – was a haven for those people who were infected with HIV/ AIDS, people who were very sick, who were dying and who were challenged with a situation that until most recently, no one had ever envisaged,” said David Polson, Chairman of Qtopia Sydney.

“The installation will tell a story of the very space that cared for so many, steeped in hope, love and sadly death. It was a place of deep humanity where patients, the medical fraternity and the community were centred,” Mr Polson continued.

“The role of government, Queer community groups and the incredible Doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff, along with the extraordinary Sisters of Charity, will be recalled and honoured.

“This space will serve as a reminder of the journey and obstacles the Queer community has both faced and overcome in recent decades, particularly with its proximity to St Vincent’s where I, among many, was treated for HIV/AIDS.
“The support of Steven Alderton and his Board is truly to be applauded and we are incredibly grateful for their foresight and genuine interest in our objectives,” Mr Polson concluded.

The partnership extends the presence of the first LGBTQIA+ museum in Sydney, after Qtopia Sydney’s recent securing of The Bandstand in Darlinghurst, adjacent to St Vincent’s Hospital.

NAS Director and CEO Steven Alderton said, “We are thrilled to be in position to support Qtopia Sydney in their incredibly important endeavour.

“NAS’ commitment to our students includes fostering creative thinking processes across multiple disciplines, and we emphasise the role of a curious and empathetic mind within critical contemporary practice.

“We think this aligns beautifully not only with the goals and objectives of Sydney WorldPride 2023, but with the overarching vision of Qtopia Sydney and we are excited to be a part of their journey,” he said.

“Our remarkable campus is imbued with so much history and is deeply embedded within many of the stories of this time. This partnership represents our ongoing commitment to out our LGBTQIA+ communities, highlighting the many aspects of life in this city and in this instance, the trials and tribulations and the vibrant achievements of Sydney’s Queer Community over decades,” Mr Alderton said.

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