Blood Equality, Art, & HIV Activism in Birmingham

IMG_3115.JPG

WUSSY recently had the chance to view the opening receptions for Jordan Eagles: Blood Equality, on display at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) at University of Alabama. The exhibit is a part of the One In Our Blood initiative.

The exhibition is separated into two galleries. Jordan Eagles’ pieces are in a smaller and more intimate room with five pieces of work. While the exhibition is focused on the advocacy behind allowing ALL people to legally donate blood without discrimination—the juxtaposition of lucite containment of the pieces is an exciting aspect to the already understood “do not touch”-ness of the materials used (varying from needles, clinical disposable gloves, and vials of blood). Eagles’ pieces are an interesting way of educating about HIV/AIDS, but they are also a very direct and visceral experience for any viewer who has dealt with the disease.

 Jordan eagles

Jordan eagles

 Jordan eagles

Jordan eagles

Eagles also has a piece titled, “Blood Mirror”, which was also put on display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on September 22. 

 Titus Kaphar

Titus Kaphar

Also featured at the gallery is the Titus Kaphar's MisrememberedKaphar (who was present at the opening) had a much larger space for his pieces to be on display—because the pieces are larger than most people, but also because of the subject matter. Kaphar’s pieces explore the appropriation of different styles and techniques from the past to reconstruct narratives of race. My favorite piece in the collection was the series of different incarcerated women with the same name, Destiny, painted portrait style in what appears to be a free-hand/multiple exposure. They are beautiful. The exhibit also features the Alabama debut of Kaphar’s “Unfit Frame”, a piece recently acquired by the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Both exhibits explore darker and usually unspoken subjects with an unapologetic form and will be on display until December 9th.


For more information about the exhibition-please visit bloodequality.com/birmingham.

Events sponsored by the One In Our Blood: Birmingham initiative will be happening from now until World AIDS Day on December 1.  For more information on One In Our Blood, please visit bloodequality.com/birmingham.

---

Andrew Hester is Chair of the Alabama Young Democrats Rainbow (LGBT) Caucus and he lives in Birmingham, Al with his partner, Beau and their two cats, Moo and Charlie.