The first phase of the new AIDS Garden Chicago has been completed by the Chicago Parks Foundation. Keith Haring, an iconic HIV/AIDS activist and an artist, was specially-commissioned for making a 30-foot-high sculpture, Self-Portrait, for the AIDS Garden Chicago. The first phase of the garden has been completed with the unveiling of the sculpture.
The AIDS Garden Chicago will be the first public monument of the city. It will honor the patients battling with AIDS today. It will also remember the early days of Chicago’s HIV widespread. It will be a 2.5-acre public garden located along Lake Michigan. The original location of the garden is Belmont Rocks. The local gay community gathered at this location between the 1960s and 1990s.
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, said, “The fight against HIV/AIDS represents more than a health epidemic.” She added that the fights symbolized a time in their history when the LGBTQ+ and ally communities came together in the face of tragedy.” Chicago fought hard against the virus and still fighting but a huge number of people lost their lives in battling this disease.
Lightfoot added that the garden would remind us how far we had come. She added that the garden would honor the people working for getting zero new HIV infections. Willa Land, the executive director of the Chicago Parks Foundation, said, “The Chicago Parks Foundation is so honored to be a part of this historic project.”
The project will unite the Chicago communities and give them hope to continue their fight against the virus. Alderman Tom Tunney said that we fought to bring both HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths to zero. The Self-Portrait will be the major gathering point and point of attraction of the garden. The AIDS Garden Chicago project is expected to be completed in 2020. It will be a natural environment in the garden, according to the Chicago Parks Foundation.