ICAAP11 @ Bangkok

ICAAP11 Cultural programme @ Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre.

Between the 18-22 November 2013 Bangkok was host to the ICAAP11 Cultural Program. The event and their organisers are claimed to be the biggest and have in their arsenal the largest biennial meetings on HIV/AIDS in the world. It is also the world’s second largest forum on HIV/AIDS.
Representing 22 countries, from Asia, Africa, Europe and America, over 4,000 delegates  participating in the ICAAP11, including health care professionals, public policy leaders, community advocates, activists, researchers, journalists and people living with HIV.

The drum and dance group Dhuli Troupe performing to the crowd at Siam.

The drum and dance group Dhuli Troupe performing to the crowd at Siam.

The amazing Tanoker Ledokombo

The amazing Tanoker Ledokombo

On Wednesday and Thursday, the ICAAP11 held an open aired "cultural presentation" outside of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre. The programme involved 7 groups of performers, split up over the two days, showcasing their cultural heritage, songs, dance and diversity.
It is said that without acknowledging culture there can be no cure.
It is their goal for us to learn and be introduced to other identities, those who are far different from us but also similar.

Over the two days we were introduced to the Dhuli Troupe from Bangladesh, which is a dance and drum group. The band members were so full of energy it was hard to believe people could have so much energy and stamina. Move over Bruce Springsteen.
An amazing stilt dance group that consisted of nine children aged between 11-15 years olds. The group were called Tanoker Ledokombo and came from Indonesia. I was amazed at watching the children perform, showcasing their dances to a nearly acrobatic form. All on stilts!!

A powerful performance by a group called Project X from Singapore, the group consists of individual sex workers who use dialogues aiming to bring about discussion around the issues surrounding sex work and sex workers, and also to create a platform where sex worker's voices' can be heard.

A traditional Japanese drum group called Oto Gatari who's group travels around the whole of Japan teaching children the importance of traditional drum.

From Thailand we have the battling drum sounds from Chiangmai and Nan. The groups named Gong Sabat Chai and Gong Bhuja  played traditional forms of drums and took these highly detailed percussions to display various forms of rhythm, sound and identities from the tribes and their regions of origin.

One of my personal favourite performances was from a group representing Kolkata, India called Komal Gandhar. These young adults are traditional dancers who use their talents in many various arts forms, from songs, poetry and dance, they then use these performing art forms to educate and pass on information to others is their region of Sanagachi.

Komai Gandhar performing traditional dance, poetry and drama.

Komai Gandhar performing traditional dance, poetry and drama.

The programme also has the slogan "The Power of Diversity". With the quality of each performance and the programme as a whole, it has brought many people together to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. There has been solidarity in the response from people attending the event and people watching the performances.
From theatre, dance, music and visual arts, we are breaking down the barriers of ignorance, stigma and discrimination to show veraciously that through a united effort we can raise importance, educate and one day kill this killer affliction.