Mary was born with HIV. At just three years old, she lost her mother to AIDS. She dedicated her life to sharing her experience of living with HIV to audiences up and down the East Coast.
As a poet, author, singer, and advocate, she channeled her pain and loss into hope and support. Through her art, she gave women and people living with HIV a presence not often seen or heard.
Mary was unafraid of her truth. She openly shared her struggles with aspects of her health, including her mental health and need for social support. She encouraged others to shed the shame of HIV/AIDS and live out loud.
She was 30 years old when she lost her battle with this disease on May 16, 2019.
But Mary Bowman is still here. Her legacy lives on through the Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Award. Cofounded by the National AIDS Memorial and ViiV Healthcare, each year, a young artivist (artist + activist) will be awarded a $5,000 grant to further their HIV/AIDS advocacy through their art.
Mary’s voice still lives on through her art and its unforgettable impact on the movement.
It's time to Change the Pattern in the fight to end HIV and AIDS in the Southern United States. Be a part of this new initiative!