VA Research Fellows photo 2022 05 25

Visual AIDS is excited to announce Julia Harris and aliwen as our 2022 Research Fellows. Each Research Fellows will work with Visual AIDS to research and write about artists who have been lost to AIDS, drawing on primary sources in the Visual AIDS Archive Project and related resources. Their original writing will be published online later this year. This is the first round of a new, ongoing fellowship program by Visual AIDS. We look forward to sharing additional opportunities for researchers in the future.

aliwen (they/she) study the work of the visionary Nelson Edwin Rodriguez. Coming of age in the Bronx as a queer, Puerto Rico-American during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 90’s, Rodriguez used photography and performance to explore his own identity. In his self-portraits, Rodriguez questioned patriarchal masculinity through campy excesses of gender. Taking notes from the use of queer ephemera by the likes of Jose Esteban Muñoz, aliwen will contrast Rodriguez's collection with certain factors that are rarely discussed — such as his impact in New York queer nightlife — as a means to provide new insights and stimulate further research on the artist. Nelson passed away from AIDS-related complications in 1996, at the age of 22.

aliwen is a trans* non-binary latinx artist and curator from Chile. Their main fields of interest are artistic and curatorial practices, performance theory, politics of dissent, new ecologies, and queer experiences intersected by race. Their first book, Barricade Criticism I. Body, Writing, & Visuality, was published by Brooklyn/Santiago based publisher Sangría Editora in 2021. They use artivism, exhibition-making, teaching, screenings, and writing to advocate against the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and queer experiences. They are currently enrolled in the Masters Program in Art Studies and Curatorial Practices at Tokyo University of the Arts and work as a Teaching Assistant at the Yuko Hasegawa Graduate Laboratory at Tokyo University of the Arts. They hold a Bachelor of Art Theory and History from The University of Chile.

Julia Harris (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Harvard University, where she studies the entanglements between lesbian and trans communities in the 1970s. She recently worked with librarians at Harvard to curate a digital exhibition featuring the ACT UP Oral History Project interviews. She is so excited to be joining Visual AIDS this summer as a research fellow, where she is researching the concept of embodied AIDS feminism as expressed through the works of several artists. Julia has started her preliminary research looking at artists such as Chloe Dzubilo, Affrekka Jefferson, Garland Eliason-French, Valerie Caris Blitz, Jerome Caja, and Lucretia Crichlow.

Nelson Rodriguez

Screen Shot 2019 07 22 At 2 58 29 Pm

Lucretia Crichlow

Affrekka Jefferson

Valerie Caris Blitz

Jerome Caja 1993 Catherine Opie5Bca03Ab78D399 94055024

Jerome Caja

Omalley Chloe Actup Die In 19945Bc9Fda6E8Acd4 00068283

Chloe Dzubilo

Garland Eliason French A Survivor 24X30 1975

Garland Eliason-French