ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for August 9, 2009

One And Other

missc&thewindbags©willowilliams

missc&thewindbags©willowilliams

Hear ye, Oh hear ye – the time has come for the town crier or should I say the web crier to make the grand announcement that Willo, best friend, artist, neighbour and honorary member of our local HIV support group is about to mount the plinth as part of the One and Other project, a live artwork by sculptor Antony Gormley where 2400 participants representing every region of the UK each get to spend an hour alone to do their thing on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square.

When the project was first announced I also applied for a place, thinking it would be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about HIV, but knowing my luck for such things and in the postcode lottery I was not selected. Never mind, brave Willo is going to do it for us and is also going to give my book, “The Spider and the Fly,” which will be out in November in time for this World AIDS day, a hefty plug.

I must say, as the time draws nigh, I don’t really envy her the terrifying task she has before her and as ever I admire her courage in facing up to life’s challenges of which she has survived many, the worst of which was losing her beloved partner Paul or Pavlito as I always called him, in what should have been the prime of their years. However, I am sure he will be with her in spirit and looking down on her with immense pride. Anyway, she is taking him up on the plinth with her in the form of the amazing plaster sculpture she made in his memory and she is also going to make another plaster live on the web cam so she is hoping it won’t rain. In the event that it does, she has purchased a magnificent striped umbrella hat, so it will be worth logging on just to see her wearing that.

so tenderly he loved me - willo williams

so tenderly he loved me - willo williams

 

Willo intends to talk whilst she is busy working about the many charities she supports and about her own cancer, which, with her indomitable spirit she survived and if she has (in her words) the nerve, her colostomy bag, in order to inspire other cancer sufferers and give them hope. The header painting for this blog which is by Willo and entitled ‘Miss Colostomy and the Windbags’ is about celebrities such as Billy Conelly and Ruby Wax making jokes about colostomy bags in their repertoire.

The Jarman Centre in Blackburn has lent Willo the huge Red Ribbon which is dragged out every year on World AIDS Day at Blackburn Cathedral and has also donated the enormous bag of multi-coloured and multi-flavoured condoms she is going to toss to the crowd. How big the crowd will be is debateable because unfortunately she has the 7am to 8am time slot, but the footage will be shown on the Sky Arts channel so her message of safe sex will hopefully get across to the nation.

So hear ye, hear ye, calling all positive people as well as people who aren’t – the brave and fearless Willo is supporting us so we must also support her by logging on to  the one and other website.

Day – Wednesday 12th August

Time – 7am to 8am – yes, I know it’s very early in the morning, but it will be worth getting up for if only to see what Willo (who is known for her eccentric dress sense) is wearing – aside from the umbrella hat!

Please visit the One and Other website in advance where you can pledge your support and send her your messages of encouragement.

From hivine – thanks Willo – Willo the Wisp you are definitely not! Willo the Wonderful more like.

Willo – Biography for One and Other

Region: North West

  • clumsy
  • eccentric
  • dreamer

I will be on the 4th plinth during week 6

About me

At first I thought the project would be an amazing forum to raise the profile of the groups and charities that interest me, but since being selected, my friends feel I should use it as a platform for myself. I am still undecided about this.

As a long-term survivor of various forms of cancer (including secondary bone cancer) I thought I might promote Christie Hospital, where I received most of my treatments over several years. I’m also a supporter of the Colostomy Association, Scope, YMCA, the Big Issue, NSPCC, Childline, British Heart Foundation (my partner having died suddenly of heart related illness on New Years Day 2007), Leukaemia Research (my ‘ex’-nephew died of leukaemia at the age of 14 and I have a friend currently undergoing treatment), various third world charities and a local Aids/HIV support group. Several friends are infected with the virus (one of whom has written her moving yet witty autobiography – you can read a few chapters of it in advance of publication at: www.hivine.wordpress.com or www.hivine.com) and some have died of Aids related illnesses. The general public seems to have little or no idea of how the virus is now spreading through the heterosexual community – with many of the newly diagnosed being teenagers, so along with other members of the group, I am anxious to promote awareness.

I currently have my 91 year old mother living with me who has a mixture of dementia and Alzheimer’s and my late father also suffered from dementia and prostate cancer, so they are other areas that concern me.

My first grandchild was born at 27 weeks in Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. He weighed less than 800 grams and his survival was in the balance for many months. He is now 13 and I am indebted to that hospital and neonatal care. I first met him when he was 6 months old, on oxygen and still too weak to lift his head by himself. I did an oil painting of him with his mum and called it Miracle Boy.

I have a background in art and have at various times, managed to make money from it, not least when I was living in Zambia. Alas not so in recent years and currently it is nothing more than a hobby. With being a full-time carer I have little spare time (nor inclination since the loss of my partner) and that is mostly used up on DIY in my tiny old house bursting at the seams with all sorts of junk (that might just come in useful) and my mother’s furniture and effects.

I have two children, five grandchildren, various step-children and their offspring that I regard as my own. Sadly none of them live close by, so I don’t often see them.

Africa had a profound effect on me and I feel privileged to have lived there for some 17 years. Not without its ‘hairy’ moments though, like being falsely arrested twice, for being a spy (when I was just out sketching on assignments for the mining company).

I make time for a couple of activities – tai chi and salsa, both of them being my time to chill-out from the stresses of daily life and the latter being a huge amount of fun.

For many years I have been an admirer of Antony Gormley’s work and have seen it in various settings, but none so impressive as The Angel of The North which I spotted by accident on a train journey from Edinburgh. I should have been travelling via the west coast, but for some reason we were diverted. Admiring the view out to sea on the east coast I suddenly spotted it in all its magnificence. It was breathtaking and a sight I shall never forget.

Like so many of the participants I never expected to be selected by the computer for this project, so I am still rather overwhelmed – and terrified! However, I consider it an honour and I hope I can make the most of my hour and not flunk it!

7 July 09: It’s now six days since I heard I had been selected and I am beginning to formulate a plan, but much of it will be dependant on the weather. I haven’t yet timed this, but thought it might be possible to make a cast whilst up there on the plinth, though this may not be acceptable to the production team. As it is curing I could show some of my 2D work in print/repro form (I have been de-cluttering of late by donating them to the British Heart Foundation). If there are enough people passing by on their way to work I could launch the prints down to them. On the back of the prints could be a list of causes I am interested in and if the recipient was willing he/she could send a donation to one of the causes. I have just been watching the live webstream and seen several people passing by, so it may work. If there is a deluge or howling gale then this plan will fail, so I’ll just have to risk embarrassing my family by doing some dancing and maybe tai-chi. I’ve promised them I won’t sing!!!

Willo and me singing in choir

Willo and me singing in choir