BY BTL STAFF
Titled Amulet #40: Oculus, a mixed media work set inside a metal pocket watch, followed by a larger view of several Amulets that have been contributed through the years, and a colored pencil drawing, titled Raffaella and Human Folly, enclosed within a nineteenth-century daguerreotype case, which was donated in 2011. These, in turn, are followed by my “Amulet #1,” a colored pencil drawing, and “Amulet #2,” also a colored pencil drawing, both enclosed inside metal pocket watches, as well. Finally, there are my two donations to Artworks Detroit from the early 2000s, both colored pencil drawings, presently titled “Ibis Diptych,” each measuring 4″ x 3″. Finally, I’ve provided one .jpeg of my 2001 (left image) and 2007 (right image) donations, combined into a diptych in 2008, titled “La Gloria Diptych,” each measuring 3.5″ x 3″.
Detroit – Carl Demeulenaere, a Detroit-born gay artist, has lost several friends and one family member to AIDS. As a result of these tragic losses, including his mother’s passing, he said his philosophies about art and life markedly changed in the early ’90s. It motivated him to begin doing volunteer work for AIDS research organizations, and he said he became interested, as an artist, in examining the public’s perception of the homosexual community.
“I decided that there was a need to communicate a positive message about my community and to show, in turn, how all communities were universally linked. The legacy of compassion and understanding left to me by my mother and friends impelled me to use my artistic abilities to make an appeal for understanding, tolerance and respect between all minorities,” said Demeulenaere, who came from a small and closely-knit family.
“Virtually all my statements have concluded with the sentence, ‘As a homosexual, I have striven to give my history the sanctity usually denied it.’ It’s still a relevant line, having a breadth of meaning which, hopefully, continues to resonate in my work. I must also state that I’m presently seeking to give my history the sanctity I often feel I’ve been deprived of by fate, and I’m searching for far more answers now than in any other time in my life.”
Works by Demeulenaere, known for his miniature-scaled paintings, drawings, sculptural objects and jewelry, will be on display at the ArtWorks Detroit 21st anniversary celebration from 6-11:45 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education.
Other Detroit artists featured include Barbara Dorchen, Marcia Freedman, Sergio De Giusti, Mel Rosas, Ted Lee Hadfield, Robert Schulman, Kyle “Rise” Irving, Katie Bramlage, James Stephens, Laurie Tennent, and Albert Young.
The annual event, hosted this year at the College for Creative Studies at 460 W. Baltimore in Detroit, benefits Matrix MAC Health, a new HIV/AIDS prevention, advocacy and education services program.
“We felt there was a need to include the arts community of Metro Detroit in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Demeulenaere about the merger of Matrix Human Services with the Michigan AIDS Coalition in 2015. “Twenty-one years have seen quite a few changes in our evolution, but our focus has always been resolute. I look at the ever-evolving ArtWorks Detroit event as a barometer of where we were in the ’90s and where we still have to go today and in the future.”
The ArtWorks Detroit Committee’s four co-chairs are Ted Lee Hadfield, Barbara Bunting, Peter Gahan, and Demeulenaere. The remaining committee members are Eric Longs, Todd Peplinski, Steve Schoeberlein, Jeff Cancelosi, Steve Rost, Irving, and project coordinator Monica Mills.
“The affiliation of Michigan AIDS Coalition and Matrix Human Services represents a progressive, entrepreneurial approach to driving the mission of fighting this horrible epidemic. In combining these complementary programs, we are ensuring that the work of both organizations will carry forward, while giving confidence to our supporters that we continue to be successful in an ever more efficient and effective manner,” states Terry Ryan, former MAC chief executive officer.
Matrix is proud to continue the legacy of excellence and care represented by MAC and welcomes them to the Matrix family.
“This merger creates a full-service spectrum for the communities we serve. None of these services are duplicative, so the scope of care and assistance now available to the community is greatly enhanced and fully connected under the Matrix umbrella of programming,” said Karen Bisdorf, MHS chief operating officer.
MHS is a Detroit-based nonprofit social service organization offering a range of programs devoted to maintaining and supporting the family unit and improving the quality of life for individuals of all ages. Serving the community for 110 years, its primary mission is to fight generational poverty. MHS operates in more than 40 locations throughout the city of Detroit. Through its Head Start pre-K programming, community center, teen counseling and HIV outreach, MHS is working to educate children, support families and stabilize neighborhoods.
MAC was formed in 2009 in a strategic merger between the Michigan AIDS Fund and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project, bringing together nearly 35 years of expertise in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The mission of MAC is to prevent HIV/AIDS in Michigan by promoting healthy lifestyles, providing and investing in evidence-based, innovative programs, and teaching through advocacy and education.
The ArtWorks Detroit event features live and silent art auctions, food, drinks, a fashion show, and entertainment. Tickets are $75. For more information, call 313-831-1000 or visit MHS online at http://www.matrixhumanservices.org/artworks.
View works by Carl Demeulenaere on his website.