A new UM art exhibition exploring queer health sciences appears in the shop windows of Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR – Tanaka Chavanduka was recently inspired on a trip to Washington DC to come up with an innovative way to make his research more visible after visiting the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Chavanduka, a project manager at the University of Michigan’s Sexuality and Health Differences Center, said he had the idea to turn research into visual arts.

“I am often exposed to the emotions, sadness, and healing that lie behind the numbers – and my experience on this trip has shown that traditional types of research exchanges are not designed to express emotions the way art does.

“If our work as researchers takes up as much space as the art, it could help the people we work with feel seen. We expect communities to be vulnerable for us to participate in research. So why not also create a pipeline for creatives who exist in these communities to handle this vulnerability and share it in a respectful, disarming, and accessible manner? “


He organized a new community art exhibition titled “The Art of Queer Health Sciences” to encourage individuals to rethink how art can be used to share knowledge, create healing, and transform communities.

The exhibit is currently on display in downtown Ann Arbor in the windows of several companies including Abracadabra, Avalon Cafe, Bløm Meadworks, Cahoots, Thrive Juicery, Vault of Midnight, Vinology, and Zingermans Greyline. It will be on view through May 5th.

Jenna John, dual majors in art and design, and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, poses in front of her installation at Zingerman’s Greyline in downtown Ann Arbor. John’s work is part of The Art of Queer Health Sciences, an exhibit that is on display at multiple businesses in downtown Ann Arbor. (Eric Bronson | Michigan Photography)

The artwork, funded by the UM Arts Initiative, aims to “communicate research from the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, whose mission is to improve sexual and reproductive health and reduce health inequalities in marginalized communities – with a particular focus on Sexuality and gender minorities, ”reads a press release.




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