Rituals for dealing with death and remembrance reflect a wide spread of beliefs. AFTER/LIFE presented two such expressions in the contemporary arts community. The lives of artists Ed Aulerich-Sugai and Mark Mitchell, both affected by HIV/AIDS, reverberated in radical acts of love. Aulerich-Sugai succumbed to AIDS-related complications while Mitchell’s life was saved by antiretroviral drugs.
Mitchell chose to express love for his community by designing exquisite custom-made burial outfits for his friends. The creamy, luscious, fluid garments were suspended from the gallery ceiling, to show off the intricate antique sewing techniques. With obsessive detail, Mitchell fashioned ethereal dresses and gowns to adorn his friends in their afterlives.