There was an explosion of creativity and celebration last fall as we opened the Luis Cruz Azaceta exhibition at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and welcomed Liberian activist Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee to the Alys Stephens Center for the UAB Institute for Human Rights kickoff event. Thousands of people attended Azaceta’s “War and Other Disasters” and Gbowee’s public lecture on ensuring human rights for all.
Though their backgrounds and platforms are different, both artist and activist confront issues of increasing importance in our contemporary society: violence, environmental destruction, dictatorships, refugees, grassroots protest, and fundamental human rights. We are proud to have provided our campus and surrounding communities the opportunity to experience these two influential individuals.
“War and Other Disasters” Exhibit
Luis Cruz Azaceta is Cuban-born but lives and works in New Orleans. His multimedia work is heavily influenced by his years under the Castro regime. The “War and Other Disasters” exhibit, sponsored by PNC Bank and curated by the late AEIVA director Lisa Tamiris Becker, featured several large-scale paintings as well as sculpture.
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee Lecture
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee lectured to a big crowd, then spent a few days visiting with thought leaders on campus and across Birmingham. UAB Institute for Human Rights director Dr. Tina Kempin Reuter hosted Gbowee with some of Birmingham’s Civil Rights Foot Soldiers, as well as Birmingham Civil Rights Institute president Andrea Taylor.
Homecoming 2016 was another smashing success. For the first time, the College of Arts and Sciences took first place in the Building Decoration competition, helped in large part by the UAB Marching Blazers, the UAB cheerleaders, and a kissing booth with Blaze. The Department of Government won the Door Decoration Competition, and while Team Biology didn’t win the Gurney Derby, they made a strong showing alongside Blaze. Our county fair theme, designed by the Department of Art and Art History, extended to the float, which featured Department of Music faculty in a Dixieland Band and a crew of walkers who carried signs representing every department.