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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Grief explored through art with Shiftspace Gallery’s Remembrance Quilt exhibition

“We forget it’s a healing tool. That making is a healing tool,” Tanna Burchinal, an art studio manager in the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries, said about the artistic process.

People from across the community gathered at Fisch Haus in downtown Wichita to participate in the Remembrance Quilt Exhibition, either by bringing a photocopy of a loved one to add to the collaborative paper quilt or by tributing artists, historical figures, and celebrities with images provided by ShiftSpace organizers.

Tributed figures included Andy Warhol, Whitney Houston, Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, Matthew Perry and Josephine Baker.

ShiftSpace Gallery is a student-run roaming gallery that prepares exhibitions and engages in community outreach. The group is open to all currently enrolled Wichita State students and offers experience in gallery roles as curators, preparators, community outreach coordinators, and social media managers.

Offering insight into the relationship art and grief have with each other, Burchinal said, “I think in some ways, people look at artists understanding everything that they make right off the bat, and then that isn’t always the truth. Sometimes, I feel like art itself, the process of making, is similar to maybe the process of grief and loss.”

The Remembrance Quilt Exhibition coincided with World AIDS Day, set to commemorate and raise awareness for those who died or were affected by the AIDS Pandemic on Dec. 1. Jefferson Godard, who manages ShiftSpace Gallery and assists the student-workers, discussed how AIDS impacted his life.

“I grew up during the AIDS generation,” Godard said.“And being gay during that time, it was very difficult because people didn’t want to talk about it, and people were dying around us. Tonight is not about AIDS, but it’s just the idea of thinking of someone and memorializing them.”

The Names Project Aids Memorial Quilt inspired the Remembrance Quilt.

According to the AIDS Memorial website, “Individuals and groups create Quilt panels to honor, remember and celebrate the stories and lives of those lost to HIV/AIDS. Today there are roughly 50,000 panels dedicated to more than 110,00 individuals in this epic 54-ton tapestry.”

“The quilts were made to make people realize these names because people weren’t talking about them, and people were dying,” Godard said. “So, it’s more about people dying without being recognized. That’s what this does.”

ShiftSpace is considering bringing The Remembrance Quilt to McKnight Art Center for students to participate in adding photo tributes to the paper quilt. Check their website for updated information.

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About the Contributor
Monique Bever, Reporter
Monique Bever is a first-year reporter and photographer. She is a freshman majoring in philosophy. Monique has lived in Wichita for most of her life. She loves film, fashion, and her cat.

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