Exhibition inspired by women’s HIV stories

In Plain Sight-I'm Still Surviving; exhibition

“In Plain Sight,” an exhibition inspired by “I’m Still Surviving,” will be on view at Pop Up JUST Art Center at UIC. — Photo: Jay Yocis

An opening reception is set for Friday for a UIC exhibition featuring oral histories, photos, documents and hand-written stories from Chicago women living with HIV.

The exhibit, “In Plain Sight: A Women’s History of HIV/AIDS in Chicago,” opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at Pop Up JUST Art Center, 1255 S. Halsted St. Hours for the exhibit, which will be on view through April 2, are 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

“In Plain Sight” is a public exhibition inspired by an ongoing project called “I’m Still Surviving: A Women’s History of HIV/AIDS in the United States.”

The exhibition and corresponding project are the result of collaboration between the UIC-based History Moves project and Chicago participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a 23-year-old clinical research study on women living with HIV. The “I’m Still Surviving” project recently received funding from MAC AIDS Fund, a foundation of MAC Cosmetics, to expand the public history work to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York.

Working in pairs to interview one another, the women shared stories of heartbreak and courage, loss and pain, and tales of redemption, determination and spirit, said Jennifer Brier, professor and director of gender and women’s studies and history, and lead investigator for History Moves.

With the individual oral histories as a guide, History Moves and WIHS worked with the women to collect visual materials to accompany their personal narratives. The stories and exhibited items weave the HIV/AIDS epidemic into the history of Chicago.

Brier is lead historian for the exhibition and book. The project’s graphic design was led by Matt Wizinsky, assistant professor of design at the University of Cincinnati.

“In Plain Sight” is supported through a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation with the support and encouragement of Jane M. Saks.

Admission is free and open to the public. Call (312) 413-2458 to arrange group tours.