Art students at Perth College UHI took inspiration from a special masterclass on contemporary art and political activism in advance of their exhibition of artworks for World AIDS Day. Part of the ongoing collaboration between Horsecross Arts, Perth College UHI, Culture Perth and Kinross, and Terence Higgins Trust, the all-day masterclass was delivered on Tuesday 1 November by London-based artist and political activist Mare Tralla in collaboration with Horsecross Arts creative director for Contemporary Art, Iliyana Nedkova.

35 first and second year students on the Contemporary Art Practice Degree course were invited to the masterclass along with their tutors. HIV stigma and the AIDS pandemic have been the focus for new student and tutor artworks on paper, canvas and screens for the last 3 years at the double-bill week-long exhibitions. The 4th annual student exhibition launches with a free preview open to all on Wednesday 30 November, the eve of World AIDS Day at three exhibition locations: Perth College; Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold artspace and a pop-up exhibition space at AK Bell Library.

Mare Tralla is renowned for her artistic practice which combines contemporary visual arts and political activism especially within the ranks of Act Up, London - ‘the diverse group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic’.

Iliyana Nedkova said: “I am delighted that we have managed to bring the London-based Estonian artist Mare Tralla to Perth for this masterclass which will provide inspiration to the art students and their tutors who are busy finalising their artworks for our 4th annual World AIDS Day exhibition including at our one-of-a-kind museum for contemporary art Threshold artspace. The issues of socially-engaged contemporary art practice including artist’s films and performances for the camera have always been part of my curatorial passion.”

Mare Tralla said: “I was very pleased to be invited to work with the young people at Perth College UHI toward their World AIDS Day annual exhibition. In my practice I tend to draw upon my personal history and everyday experience in direct critical response to how the transition of East European societies affected women. I was one of the very few conducting a feminist revolution in the field of contemporary art in Estonia. Most recently, as an activist I have been involved with Act Up, London, No Pride in War Coalition and LGS Migrants. I hope that sharing my socially engaged performative projects including Positive Negative with the students at the masterclass will energise them to new artistic highs.” The 4th annual World AIDS Day students’ exhibition will open on Wednesday, 30 November at 4pm with a free preview open to all across a trail of three spaces in Perth: Perth College UHI; Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold artspace and a pop-up exhibition space at AK Bell Library. The exhibition will stay open for a week. For exhibition updates and preview invitation sign up at the dedicated Threshold artspace Facebook group: