Elton John and Ai Weiwei join forces to launch Valentine's Day Aids campaign

 

Sir Elton John and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will today join forces to support a Valentine's Day campaign to raise awareness of Aids.

Sir Elton has persuaded stars including Jessie J, Jamie Oliver and Elizabeth Hurley to take part by pricking their finger to draw a spot of blood and then tweet an image of it accompanied by the words, Love Is In My Blood.

The campaign also includes a film by Weiwei. The dissident artist, who filled the Tate Modern’s turbine hall with porcelain sunflower seeds in 2010, said: “When Elton asked me to create something for the foundation, I wanted to contribute by finding an expression that raises awareness for this crisis among as many people as possible."

Sir Elton infuriated the Chinese authorities when he dedicated a performance in Beijing last November to the outspoken Weiwei.

Local police questioned the singer after he met the artist and announced that the performance was dedicated “to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei”.

Two versions of his film, one lasting 30 seconds and one lasting a minute, will run on YouTube and on big screens in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, today.

Sir Elton said: “Now more than ever we know how to beat Aids. Thanks to incredible work by the Aids community over the past 20 years we now have affordable, quality treatment which saves lives and dramatically reduces the chances of passing on HIV. But these medicines don't work against prejudice and discrimination.

“It’s time to stop treating people who are most vulnerable to HIV as outcasts. Everyone deserves the chance to protect themselves. Surely we have enough love for that."

Sir Elton’s civil partner David Furnish, who chairs his AIDS Foundation, said: “Of course we want people to protect themselves and everything we fund promotes safe sex, clean disposable needles and condom use.

“The idea of this campaign is not to get everyone pricking their fingers, but to get the world’s attention; to challenge the equation that HIV + blood only equals fear and isolation.

What pumps through our veins is also the love and compassion to keep one another safe and look after people when they need it. The only question is whether we are ready to show it.”

Sir Elton’s AIDS Foundation, established in 1992, has raised more than $275 million in support of projects in 55 countries. Sir Elton announced that Emeli Sandé will be the star performer at the Foundation’s annual post-Oscars party next weekend, an event which has raised $34 million over two decades.

Sir Elton’s endorsement of Sandé will give the Scottish singer a boost as she aims to repeat her chart-topping UK success in the United States. “I predict that by next year she will be a multi-Grammy Award winner,” Sir Elton said. “I can’t wait to introduce Emeli to my guests and experience her live performance together.”

Gordon Ramsay will design the menu for the star-studded event, held in West Hollywood Park.

Last month Sir Elton and Mr Furnish confirmed the birth of a second baby son, Elijah, who was born in Las Vegas via an unnamed California surrogate mother.

Click below to see the short film by Ai Weiwei

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices