No Surrender

The Story Behind the Image

A couple of years ago, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic (remember it?) I began working on a series of hand portraits and self-portraits in an effort to create a body of work that expresses gesture as a means of self-expression and communication.

One of the images I then called “No Surrender” was published in A&U: Art & Understanding Magazine, together with a few words about the image, itself.

Here’s what I wrote, then, about the above image:

“Several months ago I started working on a new series of hand portraits and self-portraits. At the time I had more of an activism purpose in mind for this particular body of work, still do. But then Covid-19 happened and it reshaped, ever so slightly, the overall purpose of my hand portrait series. Its working title is Talk with Your Hands – Gesture and Self-Expression: A Series of B&W Hand Portraits and Self-Portraits. As part of this body of work, No Surrender has gone, itself, through its own transformation, in terms of story, symbolism, and, hence, title. Seen through the lens of coronavirus—and/or any chronic health conditions or diseases, such is HIV—the image speaks to the isolation and loneliness, to the despair and overwhelming hopelessness many of us feel when surrounded by this particular kind of darkness–defined by unknowns and uncertainties, insecurities, suffering and death. But this kind of darkness is not really something new, not to the long-term survivors of the AIDS pandemic…maybe that’s why the eighties are also known as “the dark years” of that pandemic. Today, in a time of coronavirus, we can learn from these survivors, and try our best not to surrender to today’s darkness, and claw our way through it and out of it.”

Silence = Death poster 30th anniversary - reflections
Reflections of the Silence = Death poster at Leslie-Lohman Museum, on the 30th anniversary of the poster. #shotoniphone by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks for reading and, as always, thanks for stopping by.

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