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The Global Face of AIDS: Photography of Women by Ann Meredith

DATES November 12, 1993 through February 20, 1994
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  • November 1, 1993 Women with AIDS is the subject of a photography exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum by New York artist Ann Meredith. On view from November 12, 1993, to February 20, 1994, The Global Face of AIDS: Photographs of Women by Ann Meredith will feature twelve large-scale black-and-white photographs taken between 1988 and 1993 in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Kenya. The images depict AIDS-infected women, their families, and their personal struggles, and are suppl[e]mented with narrative histories and personal statements of the women.

    The photographs range in subject from an image of Act Up! Women (San Francisco, 1990), which shows one of the group’s demonstrations at the San Francisco International Conference on AIDS, to portraits like Nancy and Her Mother Lillian (New York City, 1989). Wall text adjacent to the photographs detail each woman’s age, diagnosis, sexual preference, and mode of HIV transmission. Additionally there are two photographs of billboard messages, one in Kenya written in Ki-Swahilii and Luo that reads AIDS...THERE IS NO CURE (1993) and another in Louisiana that reads AIDS—JUDGEMENT HAS COME (1989).

    “My goal since 1987 has always been to focus on women—the ‘hidden population’ of the AIDS pandemic—and to show them living with the disease,” Meredith says. Each woman came forward to be photographed in order to educate and motivate the public as to the reality of the unique effects AIDS has on women. As each woman openly shared her life with Meredith, the artist took photographs and video taped oral histories, creating a way to share each woman’s voice with the public.

    In 1992 The Brooklyn Museum and Ann Meredith were invited to participate in the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest International Artists’ Program, which allowed the artist to live and work for three months in Kenya, East Africa, documenting the effects of the disease on AIDS-infected women of the Luo tribe. Three photographs from the fellowship are included in the exhibition. The grant also provided funds for Meredith to share her experience with the public through this exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum. Programming in conjunction with the exhibition will be announced in the fall.

    Ann Meredith, an arts activist and feminist, has chronicled “women’s culture” for more than twenty years. A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, she received her Bachelors degree at U.C. Berkeley in the History of Art and has done post-graduate work in photo-printmaking at both California State University at Hayward and Laney College and studied education at both Hayward and the California College of Arts and Crafts. She currently lives and works in New York City and is frequently featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums, galleries, and universities across the country. Meredith has been an adjunct professor of art at Rutgers University, Franklin and Marshall College, and New York University.

    This project is supported by a grant from The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest International Artists’ Program, a program developed and managed by Arts International and with the support of The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.

    The Global Face of AIDS: Photographs of Women was organized by Deborah Schwartz, Vice Director for Education at The Brooklyn Museum, and Linda Konheim Kramer, Curator, Prints and Drawings, at the Museum.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 07-12/1993, 154-155.
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