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AFTER/LIFE

Thursday, February 13th 2020 to Tuesday, June 30th 2020

(LEFT) Figures, Joy: Ascending Figure, Study #9 (1991) Ed Aulerich-Sugai

Watch a recording of HIV/AIDS Ministry: Past and Present, a panel discussion held on May 26, cosponsored by Pacific School of Religion's Center for LGBTQ & Gender Studies. Four leaders from diverse faith traditions engage in a powerful conversation, comparing the current realities of COVID-19 with their experience of ministry during the HIV/AIDS crisis.

And for a shorter version of the same event, specially made for Pride, watch this 5-minute teaser video of HIV/AID Ministry.

Take a Virtual Tour of AFTER/LIFE with guest curator Dr. Alla Efimova and CARe Director Dr. Elizabeth S. Peña. Learn more about the artists' lives and inspiration.

Read "Troubled Times: Turning to the Arts," and watch the related video by Dr. Elizabeth S. Peña. This reflection is part of the GTU's new series, "Spiritual Care and Ethical Leadership for Our Times: Faith, Resilience, and Community in an Age of Uncertainty."

Dance with Hye Hyun Han (GTU PhD Student) in her moving Dance of Condolence: Salpuri for the dead due to COVID-19. Inspired by Mark Mitchell's burial garments, this traditional Korean dance, salpuri, was choreographed to remember those who have died due to the COVID-19 virus.

Listen to the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble's Sheltering MusicThis virtual performance of solos and duets was recorded at the Doug Adams Gallery.

Take a look at a review of AFTER/LIFE in Berkeleyside. "'In the midst of life we are in death' (Media vita in morte sumus). That ancient Christian meditation on mortality, found in both Gregorian chant and in the funeral service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, leapt to mind as I toured AFTER/LIFE," writes Marcia Tanner.

Watch a short documentary on Mark Mitchell's life and workThis film was screened at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, in 2013.

AFTER/LIFE

Works by Ed Aulerich-Sugai and Mark Mitchell

Guest Curator, Alla Efimova

Rituals for dealing with death and remembrance reflect a wide spread of beliefs. AFTER/LIFE presents two such expressions in the contemporary arts community. The lives of artists Ed Aulerich-Sugai and Mark Mitchell, both affected by HIV/AIDS, reverberated in radical acts of love. Aulerich-Sugai succumbed to AIDS-related complications while Mitchell’s life was saved by antiretroviral drugs.

Aulerich-Sugai’s legacy is lovingly preserved by his surviving former partners who carefully uphold his place in the community’s collective memory. His work is represented in AFTER/LIFE by his large-scale paintings series, Figures, created in the final year of his life. The melancholy, almost translucent nudes appear weightless on canvas, suspended between life and death.

Mitchell chose to express love for his community by designing exquisite custom-made burial garments for his friends. Mitchell’s creamy, luscious, fluid garments are suspended from the gallery ceiling. Using antique sewing techniques with obsessive details, Mitchell fashioned dresses and gowns to adorn his friends in their afterlives. 

AFTER/LIFE runs from Thursday, February 13, 2020 (the 26th anniversary of Aulerich-Sugai’s death) through June 30, 2020. It overlaps with Pride Month (June) and precedes the 23rd International AIDS conference, AIDS2020, which will take place in Oakland and San Francisco in July 2020. This conference marks the 30th anniversary of the development of life-saving antiretroviral.

  • Ed Aulerich-Sugai (1950–1994) was an Asian American artist, writer, gardener, and AIDS activist. Primarily a representational painter, he drew inspiration from traditional Japanese mythology and iconography, which he transformed through a contemporary lens. His work also draws upon the anatomy of humans and animals to explore the power and fragility of life. Aulerich-Sugai died of AIDS in 1994 in San Francisco. A quarter-century later, his work stands as a unique document of his seven-year experience of living with the disease. 
  • Mark Mitchell (b. 1962) is a textile artist and costume designer for fashion and theater. He is the subject of the award-winning short film Burial, which documented the performance and exhibition of custom-made burial garments at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 2013. Mitchell lives in Tucson, AZ.
  • Alla Efimova, PhD, is a curator and art historian, founder and principal of KunstWorks. She has been an advocate for artists’ rights and strategic legacy planning. She has authored numerous articles and catalogs, and contributes board service to a number of arts organizations.

The Choking Kind (2015), Mark Mitchell, silk, reed, wool, cotton