{ day without fray }

It's December first again.

Another December without a cure.

Another December without Robert.

{fray} is observing World AIDS Day. In association with Link and Think, we're devoting {fray} to this issue for the day. The rest of the site will be back tomorrow. For now, get informed, get tested, and help others by telling your story.

Over a decade ago, I was a very green Fine Arts graduate in Toronto. While an education can provide an artist with the tools to create work, it doesn't necessarily provide that artist with the skills to navigate through the complexities of the art world.

For a brief period before I left Toronto, Robert Flack was my mentor. Robert was an active and well-respected member of the Toronto arts community. I remember Robert for being there with a kind word, good advice and ongoing support.

I'd been invited to participate in a small group show at an artist-run space. It was my first professional exhibition, and I was overwhelmed with anxiety. Standing with nails in my mouth, I was attempting to install a work created with materials that were threatening to fall apart in my hands. I felt like an amateur in the midst of genius. Robert came up and assuaged my fears with a few words.

Robert passed away from AIDS-related illness in 1993. By then I was hundreds of miles away, in another country living another life, but his passing gave me pause. Robert was there for me, and each December, I am there for Robert.

Heather Champ

{ how has your life been touched by AIDS? }

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