November 13, 2018

DHVI Recognizes World AIDS Day 2018

On Thursday, November 30th, the Duke Human Vaccine Institute will host an event to recognize World AIDS Day. Two of the DHVI Investigators, Drs. Georgia Tomaras and Tony Moody, will give special presentations on "HIV/AIDS Science and Activism". Dr. Tomaras, who co-chaired the HIVR4P 2018 Conference in Madrid, witnessed participants take over the stage at the opening and closing plenaries to voice the need for choice in prevention methods. Their actions reminded Dr. Tomaras how activism has always been an integral part of HIV/AIDS science and consequently question what scientists can learn from this discussion. Dr. Moody will talk about how vaccine development faces similar questions around activism, both for and against.  His talk will question what scientists can learn from these activists, and how we can engage to have a productive discussion. We are excited to have local artist and activist freedom clay join our conversation to share his artwork and talk about his work in the community. His talk, “When Artivism Converges with Biomedical Research: The Intersectionality of the Arts, Activism & Science” will connect the need for HIV research from an activist/artist point of view.

Pictured: freedom clay at the 2018 Ignite Durham Prep Event hosted by Healthy Durham

freedom clay's bio:

About the Artist...Afro Folk Art by freedom clay

For more than 20 years, freedom clay has worked in the human services field with special emphasis in social work and public health. His focus has been in family development research, family program development and coordination, adult and child mental health services and HIV--focusing on education, research, consumer service coordination, project management, counseling, and testing. He has worked in diverse environments including nonprofit organizations, the private sector, university settings (NCCU and UNC), and in state and county government.

freedom clay holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a concentration in health education from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Science Degree in Adult Education (Educational Development, Leadership and Policy) from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University.

His body of work continues to celebrate the multi-dimensional facets and the plight of Black people in America by celebrating and affirming their beauty and humanity. This is largely done by creating paintings in response to what’s going on personally, socially and politically and how these contexts inform how individuals are perceived and treated in broader society. Vivid colors and freedom clay's ability to capture and provoke emotion in his faceless paintings have become unique characteristics to his aesthetic. As a proud, humble and evolving He-ARTist from the south, it is his earnest hope that his work continues to make people happy where they see themselves or others they may know in his creations, inspire life-affirming and critical conversations, while addressing, responding or reacting to disparate sociopolitical issues involving race, class, gender, stigma and sexuality.

In freedom clay’s free time, he enjoys an array of activities including painting, photography, culinary arts, traveling, cultural events and spending quality time with family and friends. He is also the brainchild behind “Artsy People of Color”, an intentional and collective movement to showcase local artistic talent of color in the "Bull City" and surrounding areas. “Artsy People of Color” are socially conscious artists endeavoring to enlighten, showcase, inspire, support and celebrate cooperatively various forms of artistic expressions.

freedom clay's creations and photography have been on exhibit at The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, Blue Coffee Cafe, The Peoples' Channel at Golden Belt, Hairizon, The Artistically Irrational Exhibition Series 2014 at The Center for Advanced Hindsight, and and a solo exhibition celebrating the diverse beauty of Black women and girls at the LGBTQ Center of Durham.

His creation, “We ARE ALL the FACE of HIV/AIDS” can be seen on the cover of the January/February 2016 special edition, “Public Health Reports”, the journal of the U.S. Surgeon General focused on implementing routine HIV screening in clinical settings. This coveted creation was also on exhibit last in New York City at La Mama Galleria.  Curated by Jean Carlomusto, Alexandra Juhasz and Hugh Ryan, "Everyday" explored the AIDS crisis (historically and currently) through the lens of artwork that looks at and evidences daily experiences & practices in response to HIV/AIDS.

Last fall, N.C. A&T State University’s Lyceum Series 2017 invited freedom clay to do a solo exhibition showcasing his body of work celebrating the Black family, “High Cotton: Paying Homage to & Celebrating My Intergenerational Roots”.   This exhibition was also at N.C. State in the African American Cultural Center this fall.