UAB exhibition “Scourge: Diseases That Shaped History” opens Dec. 3

Curated by art history students, the exhibition focuses on three epidemics, along with a lecture by Michael Saag, M.D.

scourge streamAn exhibition on three historically significant epidemics that made their mark on the world opens Monday, Dec. 3, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Scourge: Diseases That Shaped History” was curated by art history capstone students from the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Art and Art History. It will be on view at UAB’s Reynolds-Finley Historical Library. In addition to the exhibition, the students will host a special guest lecture by Michael Saag, M.D.; students will also give a series of curator’s talks during the exhibition’s run.  

Student curators Kelsey Jones, Oakleigh Pinson, Tina Ruggieri and Brooklynne Todd say they chose the topic because of the items the library possesses in its collection. The students, with the help of the Reynolds-Finley Historical Collection and the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, chose what to feature for a look at the history of healing arts. The students say they hope visitors will leave with more knowledge about these illnesses and to illustrate the progress of modern medicine and the importance it bears today.

“As art history students, we thought it would be fascinating to express disease and medicine visually in the forms of illustrations, text and significant items from the collection that would bear relevance to the topics,” Pinson said.

Saag, founder of UAB’s 1917 Clinic, will speak on “The Art of ART (Antiretroviral Therapy)” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Project Space, on the first floor of the UAB Humanities Building, 900 13th St. South. Lunch will be provided.

At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, the co-curators will give a lecture on the experience, in the graduate conference room in Lister Hill Medical Library. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

An opening reception will follow, from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 6. It is free and open to the public.

Scheduled curatorial tours of the exhibition are Monday, Dec. 3, from 3-4 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 2-3 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m.-noon; and Friday, Dec. 7, from 1-2 p.m. 

Reynolds-Finley Historical Library is located on the third floor inside Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, 1700 University Blvd. The library’s hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

The capstone course, led by Assistant Professor Noa Turel, Ph.D., assesses students’ knowledge of art history and assists them in applying what they have learned. Students explore post-baccalaureate options, prepare professional materials, and hone art historical skills through activities such as conducting research, writing for different audiences, curating exhibitions and presenting research at a symposium.