Anthea Black exhibiting in: AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism

repeat pattern silhouette of two women and text
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 10:00am

AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism examines how artists and activists have expanded the idea of caretaking and family and navigated the political stakes of domestic life in the face of the HIV/AIDS crisis, from the early 1980s to the present. From the earliest diagnoses, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has spurred New Yorkers to create new forms of social support, identify new legal battles, and explore new artistic terrain. The exhibition places paintings, photography, and film alongside archival objects from activist groups and support programs to uncover the private stories of HIV and AIDS and reconsider caretaking, community building, and making art as acts of resistance.

 "AIDS at Home" features work by Anthea Black, Gavin Browning, Bill Bytsura, Vincent Cianni, Ben Cuevas, Chloe Dzubilo, Liliana Fasanella, Avram Finkelstein, Carl George, Nan Goldin, Lori Grinker, Alexandra Juhasz, Yeonjune Jung, Theodore Kerr, Alain Klarer, Susan Kuklin, Kia LaBeija, Gin Louie, Fred McDarrah, Joyce McDonald, Luna Luis Ortiz, Hunter Reynolds, Eric Rhein, L.j. Roberts, Ira Sachs, Rafael Sánchez, Juanita Mohammed Szczepanski, Michael Slocum, Lee Snider, Hugh Steers, Sur Rodney Sur, Gail Thacker

The groups and organizations include ACT UP NY, the ACLU, Bailey House, GMHC, God’s Love We Deliver, Housing Works, Stand Up Harlem, VOCAL-NY, WAVE (Women’s AIDS Video Enterprise), and What Would an HIV Doula Do? 


Venue & Address: 
Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd Street

Sheila Sampath designs her activist life

Image of Sheila Sampath, OCAD U instructor and social activist
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 5:00am

An International Women's Day special

Sheila Sampath lives a well-designed life.

The OCAD U Faculty of Design instructor says she’s always been involved in social activism, collaborating on public events for social justice causes and working the front lines in grassroots organizations focused on anti-oppression issues. When she designed a poster for the 2003 Take Back the Night rally and march, she experienced how design and activism could be combined. She says, “That’s how I got into design. I’d get angry about a particular issue, then I’d make something for it. I really enjoyed making something for people that could draw them in and make them feel a part of something bigger.”

In 2008, Sampath started an activist-based design studio, The Public, using design as a tactic for engaging in activism. Putting personal politics into practice, Sampath and her colleagues (who share an activist background) focus on client-based and self-initiated projects around issues of anti-oppression, sustainability and social growth. “We do research, writing and everything from planning things to making things,” explains Sampath.

Clients of The Public include a large university, a health network, and smaller, grassroots organizations. For activist-design services, The Public charges fair market prices and tries not to turn anyone anyway. The business is self-reliant (they don’t rely on grants and don’t take on corporate or commercial clients) right down to the studio furniture they make themselves. Says Sampath, “What we do is driven by our communities. We work to democratize our skill sets for our various communities. We offer skillshares, in-house residencies and internships, and produce how-to zines. We work so that we don't have to do this work anymore, and for a world in which this work is no longer needed. We design only when needed. A logo or a poster isn't always going to change the world.” 

Sampath is also the editorial and art director of Shameless, an award-winning Canadian feminist magazine for girls and trans* youth.  In November 2014, the volunteer-run magazine celebrated its tenth anniversary. A mirror of the work she does with her design studio, Shameless is a grassroots publication that focuses on social justice issues, particularly those at the intersections of race, class, ability, immigration status, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sampath is working on a personal art project that explores the links between colonialism and design. In her teaching at OCAD U and in her work at The Public, she challenges concepts of design, as well as considering them tactics for engaging in activism. Says Sampath, “Activism always comes first.”