‘I wake up every morning in this killing machine called America, and I’m carrying this rage inside like a blood-filled egg … and there’s a thin line between the inside and outside, a thin line between thought and action, and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone.’ (Wojnarowicz, qtd. in Moffit).
David Wojnarowicz was an American artist and AIDS activist in the 1980s, who himself contracted AIDS and died at the age of 37. He is the author of the two paintings posted below. Through his paintings, Wojnarowicz tried to advocate for patients with AIDS who were ostracized and stripped from their rights. His work is relevant when discussing the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s US, which some referred to as the “gay plague,” believing that AIDS was only prevalent in the homosexual community and was a result of immorality and promiscuity. What was often not recognized, apart from the fact that HIV spread in the heterosexual community, was the fact that it can also be passed on through blood from a mother to a child, and from a blood transfusion.
In the context of China, The Dream of Ding Village gives us a very different perception of another AIDS epidemic, where the main cause of HIV spread was contributed to the use of unsterilized needles in blood donation. We can see similarities between the AIDS crises, as the infected were ostracized and unsupported by the government and both epidemics share a path to the development of public policy. This raises the question what parallels between the American and Chinese AIDS crises? Does Dream of Ding Village shed light on the ADIS crisis in the US?