I am Positif is the second installment of a personal initiative started by Andri Tambunan, an award-winning documentary photographer and activist. Since 2009, Andri has been documenting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tanah Papua.
During the first half of his project, Andri investigated some of the causes and the devastating impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tanah Papua. He worked mainly with local NGOs and support groups, health staff, activists, and community elders in the region. Andri’s goal was to accurately document the crisis beyond the superficial and the statistics. To raise awareness, the photographs were produced into a multimedia and a book called, Against All Odds. More than 200 copies were made and distributed for free to local and international NGOs, activists, and government officials and policy makers.
In 2013, Andri received the Catchlight Activist Grant (formerly PhotoPhilanthropy) to continue his project. To help decrease stigmas and fear of discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, Andri collaborated with the Clinton Health Access Initiatives (CHAI). He spent two months documenting the lives of seven individuals living with HIV in Tanah Papua. This documentary was produced into a film called I am Positif. The film provided a rare and positive account of individuals living with HIV. Moreover, each person profiled openly shared their experience of being HIV positive without concealing their identities. The film also counters the public’s negative perception of HIV/AIDS and opposes many damaging stereotypes of individuals living with the disease. In early 2015, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Health approved the film for distribution in various clinics and hospitals across Tanah Papua. However, until now the Tanah Papua provincial government has not yet publicly released the film in the mainstream media in fear of a possible backlash.
To reach a wider audience outside of health organizations, Andri produced a 60-page newsprint consisting of testimonials and photographs of the courageous individuals he profiled in the film. One thousand copies were made and the publication was distributed for free in Tanah Papua to various NGOs and policy makers. This space was also created to ensure the film and testimonies are accessible to the public; provide a platform to educate, engage, and inspire the public in Tanah Papua and even worldwide; initiate a conversation around HIV/AIDS; and to spark necessary change and the implementation of policies that would help end HIV/AIDS-related stigmatization and discrimination.
This project would not be possible without the kindness and courage of these heroes:
- Yosua Rumkorem
- Reni Purwoningsih
- Wesley Kosai
- Meri Itlay
- Jhon Mateus
- Ibu Ratna
- Siti Rumkakir
- Photography and Cinematography: Andri Tambunan
- Multimedia Director: Andri Tambunan
- Multimedia Editor: Nanang Sujana
- Logo Design & Motion Graphic: Leoni Rahmawati
- Transcription & Translation: Andri Tambunan
- Copy Editor English: Jessica Chen
- Copy Editor Bahasa Indonesia: Okky Ardya
- Web Design: Creative Squeeze
The financial backing for this project was supported in part by the Catchlight Activist Grant.