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Emilio Aponte-Sierra

Ribbon HIV : Emilio Aponte’s Manipulated Photo Collection ©

The Ribbon Project is a creative counseling approach in which Emilio Aponte has integrated his thoughts, artistic knowledge and counseling expertise. This integration has tangible results when translated. They are tools for the counselors and educators which serve to open a free flowing dialogue between counselor /teacher and client. The results of this integration shown can be potentially utilized in many various ways by diverse professionals. One of these many tools developed by The Ribbon Project is Ribbon HIV: Emilio Aponte’s Manipulated Photo Collection Š . The purpose of this Manipulated Photo Collection is to raise awareness through community education in HIV prevention and support individuals reducing their HIV risk. The Counselor uses The Ribbon Project tools to impress upon the client their sense of personal risk and to work side by side to develop a plan for their own risk reduction strategies.

Artist Emilio Aponte is influenced, as he says, “by everything I see, feel and experience…” Considering Emilio is an HIV risk reduction coordinator at the Pride Center in Ft Lauderdale, it’s no wonder that his current exhibit there, “Ribbon HIV,” focuses on HIV prevention and education (at right, a detail shot from his piece, “Mutants”). And what a stunning collection it is — high contrast black and white “manipulated photos” that all have a touch of red somewhere, reminding us the virus is still present in everyone’s lives. Beyond the images themselves, Emilio accompanies them with brief, positive statements about protecting oneself from HIV risk, or taking care of yourself if you are living with HIV. It’s a beautiful collection with a terrific message. July 19, 2011

Self Portrait is my visual

image in which I point out the undeniable

presence of a virus in which more than 33 million people of the world are currently living with.


The power and allure of attraction always

involves Negative and Positive, opposition and contradiction that should be confronted with caution and love. 19.5X19.5

Stop… Look…

Listen… Don’t be

Scared… You don’t have to live in darkness…

You can choose to live in the light… 22.5X17.5

Living with HIV is not easy‌

Look into the deepest parts of yourself and draw on your inner Strength


Everyone can stay safe if

Mutual Monogamy is practiced in a loving relationship. 19.5X19.5

It is not only here It can present itself to anyone‌ any time‌ any where. 22.5X17.5



Status‌ so that you are able to navigate through the mystery and shadows of doubt. 25.5X19.5

Mutants. All is not what you think it is. ‌ the virus changes... it adapts‌

You need to do the same.. . 27.5X27.5

Let the world know who you are, but first Know yourself


When you

are living with the

Stigma you

feel the weight of the world is yours.


A legion of intruders have taken possession of your

body. You can stand up and fight the Invasion


The powerful knowledge of your condition, gives you the know how to pursue and achieve the results of



Barriers‌. you lose the

freedom of spontaneity but you gain

the joy of a longer life‌.


Do not turn your back

on the naked truth, face reality

head on‌ Bare Back not always is the best choice.


Risk‌ its not always easy to see, it is better if you keep your eyes wide open. 19.5X19.5

Believe in

Social Network‌ believe in friendship... Sharing needles‌never. 22.5X17.5

Mother ‌its not always about sex. Infected milk passes the virus to the baby during breast feeding. 27.5X27.5

Check yourself and find out if you are living with HIV.


Adoption Please let me stay, I am so happy Being in a loving family and not an HIV orphan.


Daniel “Good Morning my friends”…


Parasol Everyone must always carry a parasol‌

a canopy of protection.


My Fabulous Disease “I’m an absurdist, a lover of human frailty…” Blog by Mark S. King 19.5X19.5

Emilio Aponte-Sierra Artist Statement My undergraduate degree has labeled me as a Fishing Engineer and my Masters Degree is what allows me to navigate the world of Guidance and Counseling. Art, in all forms, has always held the greatest attraction for me. It draws me in ever closer as I travel my life’s true path. I love the art in counseling, I love the art in theater, in painting, in philosophy, in poetry, “Art is a ripening, and photography. Art is at the center of my an evolution, an life and will continue to influence me and uplifting which my work always. enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light” Even though I have been on hiatus as a Grotosky theater actor since 2002, I'm never without My interest for the Visual Arts started with my camera in hand. Sometimes the photographs my first art class by the Colombian Artist, Nora are left to hibernate in the computer and other Parra Leyton, who introduced me to the world of times when I am inspired by a world event, the painting in 1981 at the National Loperena twinkle in a child’s eye or a kind smile, I get to work and resurrect the photos, bring them back School. Now, some of my subject matter is about to life with new manipulated images using Paint landscape, flowers and animals. Those subjects were close to my heart since I was working as an (computer program). environmental planner for the sustainable I’m from Valledupar, a small Colombia development of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Caribbean town where people use the music to My art is influenced by everything I see, feel express their feelings, I like music too, but I and experience, but I have always loved the prefer to use art as a thread to celebrate life. In work of Van Gogh especially his drawings in 1986 as an admirer of Neruda, I was writing charcoal and ink. Ribbon HIV is my first Visual poetry. I was also writing stories influenced by the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I Art collection using my photographs while working as an HIV prevention Counselor. Each was attending Magdalena University and developing my career as a playwright and actor in person interprets something a little different from the same photograph and I'm happy with several theatre companies of the city of Santa that. Marta, always following Stanislavsky and I transformed these photographs into Grotosky’s theater theories contemporary images where the black and white I did not set out to be a visual artist nor did I reminds me of a charcoal draw, and the color red intend to create artwork relating to health issues symbolizes the undeniable presence of the virus. or social commentary, but as my portfolio These manipulated images remind us all that this evolved and people started to take notice of my virus is still very much present in everyone’s work, the outcome and my purpose were clearly lives and brings to mind, John Donne thoughts laid out before me. I am very pleased with the “that no man is an island unto himself”. What Collections available for purchase. outcome Private showing by appointment. call (786) 287-0052 affects one affects all.

2011 All rights reserved

HIV'AIDS Counseling Prevention Cards  
HIV'AIDS Counseling Prevention Cards  

One of these many tools developed by The Ribbon Project  is Ribbon HIV: Emilio Aponte’s Manipulated Photo Collection © ....