Aggravated Organizms

Influenza ANTHC final

On October 11, the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation collaborated with the Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) to hold a “Conversation about Causes That Matter,” a series of conversations on topics of importance to Alaskans. These panel discussions were recorded and re-broadcast as a podcast and on KSKA public radio. The discussion was moderated by ACF President/CEO Candace Winkler, and included ANTHC staff Dr. Jay Butler, Dr. Gary Ferguson and Laura Avellaneda-Cruz and the artists Drew Michael and Elizabeth Ellis. Guest panelists shared their expertise and interest in culturally relevant and sustainable health care and wellness in Alaska.

Aggravated Organizms is a collection of 10 human-sized wooden masks currently on display in the COB atrium. Each mask was carved by Drew Michael (Yupik) and painted by Elizabeth Ellis (Alutiiq). The masks explore how all living organisms are made of cells and sometimes these bodies of cells are overtaken by disease. The masks represent the following diseases: hepatitis; rheumatoid arthritis; HIV; alcoholism; fetal alcohol syndrome; cardiovascular disease; cancer; diabetes; influenza; and behavioral health.

The artists asked people to sign the back of the masks if they or a loved one has been affected by that disease. As part of the display, each mask is intended to have movement and sway when touched while they are on the stands.