Through gesture, colour scheme, background and lighting, the photographs that comprise States of Union are loosely based on classical paintings. The goal of the project, which was exhibited at The Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York, and in Los Angeles at Manifest Equality, is to show all Americans – that LGBT families, couples, and loves are no different than heterosexual ones and deserve the same love, support, and admiration.
The educational and youth-focused component of “States of Union” was chosen as one of the finalists for pepsi’s competition. Pepsi’s “refresh everything” campaign seeks to reward “people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive impact” and will change their community. Smith believes that encouraging positive identify formation in gay and lesbian youth by exposing them to images of familial love that they can relate to is critical to changing all American communities for the better. States of Union has been compared to the AIDS Quilt in its power to have a profound emotional affect on those that see it. It would be truly fantastic of an LGBT project was sponsored by such a well-known company as Pepsi!
Voting for the winner of this grant began on April 1 and Smith’s project has already moved from 215th place to 70nd, but in order to win she must move to 1st place. We only have 9 days to jump from #72 to #1.
Supporters may vote daily for this project online at www.refresheverything.com/statesofunion IN THE LIFE is doing a segment on Alix Smith and States of Union. It is the second story in the “Dismantling Hate” episode.
You can see it online at: www.inthelifetv.org/html/watchitl.shtml
States of Union can have a profound impact not only upon how we, as a community, see ourselves, but also on how society as a whole views us. In the past portraits were commissioned so that, after death, people would have a legacy to show others that they were here; these photographs have the same meaning for the LGBT community. We are saying to the world that we exist, we are/were here. It’s a powerful message.
By : Charlotte Edwards Hunt, Executive Assistant, STATES OF UNION
Photo by Alix Smith