The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will extend the display of artist Jordan Eagles’ Blood Mirror sculpture through World Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2018. The sculpture is part of a citywide campaign that addressed the FDA’s discriminatory blood donation policy and advocate for LGBTQ equality Blood Mirror at BCRI, curated by Paul Barrett.
A UCLA Williams Institute study concluded that lifting the ban could save up to a million lives annually. Not only does the FDA’s ban exacerbate the growing issue of blood shortage, it infringes on the civil rights of would-be donors within the LGBTQ community.
Blood Mirror is a sculpture created with 59 blood donations from gay, bisexual, and transgender men, that advocates for equality and protests the FDA’s stigmatizing and discriminatory blood ban. Blood Mirror was created in two phases between 2014 and 2016. The first phase involved an extraordinary group of nine individuals, each with unique life experiences and perspectives, highlighting the hypocrisy and repercussions of the ban and the importance of full equality. The second phase combined blood from a community of 50 PrEP advocates, each of whom donated a single tube of blood – 50 tubes equals a full pint, the amount in a standard blood donation. All the blood in the sculpture is encased in resin and fully preserved, archiving the blood and ensuring that the organic material will not change over time. Viewers can see themselves reflected in blood that could have been used for life-saving purposes.
Men who donated their blood to this project include: a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC); the current CEO of GMHC; the Deputy Commissioner of Disease Control at NYC Department of Health; a Nigerian gay rights activist on political asylum in the U.S.; a gay identical twin whose straight brother is eligible to donate; an Army Captain who served two terms in Iraq and was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; a 90-year-old openly gay priest; a married transgender male couple; gay and bisexual fathers who are unable to donate blood to their own children; gay doctors and medical professionals; and a group of 50 men on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Each of the 59 men is ineligible to donate blood under the FDA’s current policy–but since they cannot donate their blood to save lives, they’ve chosen to donate their blood for art.
Jordan Eagles, artist and creator of Blood Mirror says: “Sharing Blood Mirror at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute continues to energize conversations about blood equality and equality for all people. Blood donation has always had a dark cloud of discrimination in our country’s history. Even Dr. Charles R. Drew, the “father of blood banking”, was unable to donate blood to the system he created in the 1940’s, as he was African-American and there was still racial segregation of blood. It is now crucial as a country and as a world community to come together, trust in science, and learn to respect each other–for life saving purposes and for equality.”
About Jordan Eagles:
Jordan Eagles is a New York-based artist who has been working with and preserving blood for nearly twenty years. He treats the organic material as a universal life force, challenging preconceived notions and relationships to blood. He manipulates and transforms blood, encasing and layering it in resin. This preservation technique permanently retains the blood’s natural colors, patterns, and textures. When lit, the works become translucent, projecting and reflecting the multilayered suspension and glow of the organic material. Eagles’ works are held in numerous collections including the Addison Gallery of American Art, Everson Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, The Rose Art Museum, Mobile Museum of Art and University of Michigan Museum of Art. His works have been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine and TIME, among others. For more information, go to http://jordaneagles.com/blood-mirror/