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Our Blood Can Save Them

our blood can save themJordan Eagles, "Our Blood Can Save Them," 2018, Screen-printed blood of a transgender, pansexual, active U.S. Service Member on paper edition: 1/14. Gift of Paul Barrett in honor of John Fields, Senior Director of AEIVA. Collection of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, UABOur Blood Can Save Them is a silkscreen reproduction of a World War II poster “Your Blood Can Save Him” created for the American Red Cross blood drive campaign over the course of the war. The posters on display at AEIVA, created in 2018, are screen-printed using the donated blood from a transgender, pansexual, active US Service Member.

The series of prints is a continuation of Eagles’ work that considers racial equality and LGBTQI+ equality, correlating these concepts to those individuals willing to sacrifice and share of themselves in service to their country and saving lives in their communities. Past racial segregation of blood donations and current discriminatory policies – such as the FDA’s blood ban and the transgender military ban – are not rooted in science and data undermining our country’s wellness and preparedness. In January 2021, the new Biden administration reversed the ban prohibiting individuals identifying as transgender from serving in the military. No further action has yet been taking to reverse or amend the FDA blood ban.

In the creation of this series, Eagles uses every drop of blood the U.S. Service Member donated to the project. As the supply ran out the image gradually fades, and according to Eagles is “expressive of a person or communities being erased by discrimination or indifference.” Eagles drew as inspiration on the life and legacy Dr. Charles R. Drew, the African American surgeon who developed the techniques for blood and plasma storage that allowed these much-needed resources to be shipped to and used by the Allied forces during WWII. But the system was discriminatory and racially segregated, and Dr. Drew eventually resigned his position in protest.

The second of these posters on display is given in honor of Dr. Michael Saag, a leading researcher of HIV who currently serves as Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Associate Dean of Global Health at UAB.