It’s been more than three decades since the FDA instated its lifetime ban on blood donors who are men who have sex with men, and an attempted revision proposed last month — one that calls for a year of celibacy from gay donors — has drawn a slew of responses, some direct, humorous, and even artistic.
Artist Jordan Eagles, a gay man whose work often uses dried animal blood for a gorgeous affect, enlisted nine men from different backgrounds and with unique stakes in the FDA’s discriminatory ban for his latest work, titled "Blood Mirror." Among his volunteers are: an 88-year-old openly gay priest, Nigerian gay rights activist on political asylum, a co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the current CEO of the GMHC, an identical twin whose straight brother is eligible to donate, a captain in the army who served two terms in Iraq and was discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” (reinstated in 2014), a married transgender male couple, and a bisexual father of two.
The nine men donated blood and Eagles used it to create "Blood Mirror,' a 7-foot-tall monolithic mirrored sculpture in which viewers can see themselves reflected in a pane of crimson. “I wanted to create a sculpture that would become a time capsule, documenting this moment in time, while showing that this blood could have been used to save lives,” Eagles stated in a press release. “This discriminatory policy is part of our gay history and part of our nation’s history, and the sculpture asks us to reflect on discrimination in our country, as well as the homophobia that exists around the world. For me, the sculpture is a work in progress. It will never be finished until the FDA’s blood donation policy is fair for all people.”
Activist and filmmaker Leo Herrera documented the blood donation process and interviewed the nine donors to give a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process that went into "Blood Mirror."
Watch the video below:
Blood Mirror will be on view at the American University Museum at The Katzen Arts Center in Washington D.C. from September 12 to October 18.