Open studio at Atelier WG artist community in Amsterdam. In my small studio in this community I am showing portraits of Jean-Luc Littière. Jean-Luc became HIV-positive in the the late 1980’s on a trip to the US. Being gay and cooperative and thinking this will not happen to me, he did participate in a research program at the university hospital in Amsterdam to have his blood checked regularly as from 1986. In 1988 he was found to be HIV-positive. In 1998, 10 years later, he developed AIDS and became terminally ill. Being French, on his own, and having no family in the Netherlands, and thus quite alone during his illness, he was not expected to make it for a long time. But somewhere far down during the descent to end of life, he did for some reason turn, and came back up.
When I met him in 2002 he was already recovering very well, walking around the block to the gym using a rollator, and living at home again. He was back in his gym to build up his strength, and that it is where I met him.
In 2002 I portrayed him for the first time and then a couple of times more until 2006 and he shared his life with me as we became friends.
He died in March 2007, in his home, and was found on his couch.
This notion of no matter what happened, he wanted to get back up and build up his strength again, is one side of his character that impressed me. But even stronger was his positive outlook on every day of life and regaining his strengths no matter what. That was feeding his strength. This has really stayed with me in my memory of him.
I still miss him, and will always do.
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