Unashamedly Positive….Re-creation of the red ribbon dress

Submitted on Oct 10, 2011 by  mandywebb66

First I must apologize for taking so long to blog. Life has been a little crazy. I am now represented by a new gallery in the West End of London, in Nottinghill so there have been many trips back and forth delivering work, going to Preview nights and attending workshops and even a 121 with the Gallery Director.

This is an exciting new venture for me and I have to commit one hundred percent to it. I have also just finished a course at the wonderful Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. It was a training programme learning how to run workshops, as I have to create a job for myself that fits in with the being an ‘Artist’ and all that entails.

It was great being in that environment for three weeks as they had a Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera Exhibition on so I was able to go see it when the Gallery was closed, also I was in close proximity to Francis Bacon’s work and one of my other favourites, Peter Blake.

Years ago in 2005 when I was on a foundation Arts Course, I created a piece of work titled the ‘Red Ribbon Dress’ it was a sculptural piece so wire was used to form the skirt of the dress. I had made the piece as I wanted to come out about being Positive. The course was only for a year and I had made some good friends there but didn’t feel confident enough to disclose to them and thought and hoped that by making the Dress that someone might just ask if I was in fact affected by the disease. They all knew how important it was to me as I worked constantly on it. I bought and cut hundreds/thousands of Red Ribbons and got some of my Positive buddies to also cut and pin Ribbons. Nobody ever questioned why this project was so important to me? Years later on my Degree course, one of my colleagues from the previous course had said that at the time she had inkling that maybe I was Positive as I was so passionate about the Dress and how it looked and what it represented, but she didn’t feel it was right to ask me?

The Dress was exhibited a few times and caused quite a stir; unfortunately, as the dress was moved about so many times, it got damaged and looked in such a sad state. So I decided last year 2010 that I was going to re-create it, but this time it was going to be bigger and better and was going to be wearable…worn by me!!!

I saw a posting on Facebook about ‘The London AIDS Memorial" and posted a message telling them a little about myself and how I would love to be able to contribute in any way that I could and sent a link to my Website.

I got a really nice reply back from the creator of the Memorial and a phone call and I can now say that I am onboard with the Memorial and will be talking about my new project at the Launch in London on 29th November 2011.

I have put a call out across the UK for people to write dedications for the people they have lost to HIV/AIDS or people they know are affected by it or even themselves? Each Ribbon on the Dress (and there will be thousands) will be dedicated to the names that I receive. I will also be doing a Saturday Debut in the Gallery in London inviting people to come in and write dedications and hopefully have a progress report on the dress.

It is an ongoing project as it will take some considerable time to complete. I am once again cutting Red Ribbon but this time each one is being stitched instead of pinned so it can be sewn on to the dress and no injuries occur, lol!!! I am getting friends and family onboard in the stitching of the many Ribbons and they will also be recognized in the making of the dress. A friend I met at the Foundation Art course who I have kept in contact with studied Fashion and Textiles at the university where I studied and she will be contributing her design for the dress hopefully, so she, too, will be recognized.

This piece of work is a Legacy piece and is made by the People for the People and hopefully it will be exhibited on a regular basis continually raising awareness and hopefully making a HUGE IMPACT!!!

I have attached an image of the Original Dress; unfortunately it is not the best picture and shows the signs of damage as it lost its shape. I also designed the t-shirt.

Art is Life, Life is Art

Submitted by mouse25

Hi I live in London and would love to come and see your beautful red ribbon dress - Is there a chance you can post details about the exhibition. My close and friends and family know my status and to be honest - I don't care anymore, don't want to keep myself a "secret" anymore. I would love to meet other people living with HIV. I have been to a few support groups - but just had nothing but hiv in common with these people. And to be honest - I have so much more going on for me than that. I am here, alive, and I still have lots of living to do!!! Really pleased for youxxxx

Submitted by mandywebb66

Hello mouse25

I will of course post details on here when the Dress is completed, as its a big project its likely to be revealed next year along with a lot of other Pop -Up Exhibits in London that I will be Curating. You certainly do have lots of living to do and being in the Capital is the place to be, im unfortunately living in a seaside town and will be moving to London as soon as I am able. They have many support groups I believe and think that alot of Positive People also maybe access the Brighton Groups?
Mandy xxx

Submitted by mouse25

Hello dear, am deeply moved by this impersonate creativity I am blessed by this i feel a live every day that i enter this site, thanks gals you have made my day much better everyday. I must say am blessed with this beautiful design and definitely will share with the many friends i have. God Bless you and all the team on the project. From all the Positive Gals in Uganda, I wish u the best and please Make mirriam a Ribbon. Love to all

Submitted by mandywebb66

Thankyou very much Mirriam...The Dress is for all of us affected by this disease and it is my small way of bringing people together to remember the many that have died and the many that are still being affected. I will definately when stitching each Ribbon to the Dress be thinking of all the People who belong to The Well Project.
Mandy xxx

Submitted by mouse25

Hi Mandy, here is a link to Positive Nation, Brighton World AIDS Day and your Red Ribbon Dress.

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