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HIV Positive Artist Raffaele Ciotola paints with his blood: shocking work

«to sensitize young people»

The artist Raffaele Ciotola was born in Naples on the 17th of October 1964. His loving and receptive  family promoted his studies and supported supporting his artistic  nature. He obtained the Artistic High School School graduation and got  the Master of Arts degree at the state institute of Arts "Filippo Palizzi" in  Naples in 1983. Since he was a boy he has been devoting his life to  painting in a professional manner; after his debut in 1980 at an  exhibition in his hometown, he kept on taking part in other collective  and personal exhibitions set up in several Italian cities until 2002  (Piano di Sorrento, St. Anne in Naples, Milano, Viterbo, Milan, Portugal,). He was  awarded the gold medal at the National Biennial of Sacred Art in Torre  del Greco in 1980 by prof. Mr Franco Girosi, a famous Neaolitan artist  of the last century. It was foundamental for his training, the meetings  with prof. Mr Franco Girosi and with Mr Luigi Signore, an artist known  as one of the best sculptors of cribs in Italy today.
He studied music  and attended the voice class at the Conservatory of Naples, but the  meeting he had in Rome in 1987 with Master Mr Renato Guelfi, opera  singer and painter, was so crucial to his professional growth that he  started performing as a singer in some Italian theatres (Lecce, Santa  Maria di Leuca, Ronciglione, Villa Pignatelli in Naples). He got to  obtained some rewards such as: the gold medal in "La Triade" Prize,  Palazzo Sormani - Sala del Grechetto - Milano; the diploma of honor at  St. Anastasia, Naples. His personal exhibition in Tuscia dates back to  2002 , in this occasion he exhibited for the first time at the Sala  Anselmi in Viterbo. His painting style and production are  characterized by an intense use of colours and by the chiaroscuro  effects conveying a whole creative freedom and a boundless vital energy,  without hiding any strong and eloquent emotion, leaving the viewer a  hope, a light , the one that leads beyond any solitude and that blurs  roles and social conventions.
In fact, from the late 90s, his work is  more focused on topical issues and feels the effect of his civil  commitment against homophobia and discriminatory behaviors, so it became  a vehicle to spread some nonconformist messages, even inspired by  universal ethical values. In 2003 he created the artistic movement  called "Stop Homoph Art" which aims to spread the culture of respect and  fight against homophobia. From this battle, "The Madonna of the homosexuals" came to life, it became the emblematic work of his  production and will be exhibited for the first time in the foyer of the  Mercadante Theater in Naples on the 18th of October 2014.
So his  landscapes and his dreamlike hermetic metaphysical views of the first  period, they have been gradually replaced by works full of reflection  and judgment which are well received by public and by critics,  attracting the attention of Mr Jean-Louis Cougnon, Chief Excecutive at  General Managment of European Parliament.
Raffaele Ciotola is the creator of two artistic movements, ''STOP HOMOPH ART'' the art against homophobia and ''ROCK ART CIOTOLA'' the art that embellishes famous people in the world (Tattoos, Piercings, etc. )


Raffaele Ciotola


This artistic creation of mine was born from the desire to help young people not to underestimate HIV. Unfortunately it is a virus that still exists and we can only live with it by taking medical therapies that do not definitively resolve, but block the virus allowing us to live a life projected towards the future.
I created this contemporary work with great LOVE. It was a great revelation for me artistically, but unfortunately I also had to deal with an unexpected negative aspect, in that from a social point of view I had to suffer sudden human separations not by my choice. I have lost many contacts on Facebook (even if virtual).
In my life the many apparently important friendships no longer frequented me, I invited them either to my house or outside, in the end they ignored me. I spend many hours alone and I realize that there is a lot of ignorance and a lot of unnecessary fear.
Feeling marginalized still in 2024 is very sad. I have a partner who loves me very much and for this I am grateful to life, and thank God he is also healthy. Even if I have a wonderful person next to me, when he isn't there I have to rely above all on myself and on very few people capable of not making me feel like an APPESTATIVE.
This condition is a great HANDICAP, it hurts me to the point of making me cry. Sometimes I suffer terribly and I think that having created this work of Contemporary art was a serious MISTAKE. Someone tells me that it was good for me to have created this work of art because I was able to distinguish the truth from the lie. I simply call it IGNORANCE!
Even for those who deal with ART it seems that I have created something disgusting, monstrous. Ok sure!
It's impressive though!
There is no risk, the VIRUS in contact with the air dies in a few seconds, combined with the linseed oil at the end treated with the fixative it becomes practically completely harmless.
Did I exaggerate to make myself heard by young people?
I hope that young people remember me for the courage and face I put on publicly, so that I could attract their attention and to defend them from their naive inexperience. As in my case!

Raffaele Ciotola

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