Sisters of the Commonwealth
Photographs by Meg Birnbaum
October 14, 2014-December 4, 2014
Opening reception October 18, 2014 7 – 8:30 PM
Members talk 6:15 Meg Birnbaum
Meg Birnbaum is a fine art photographer who over the course of three years has followed and photographed the Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. There are 3000 plus Sisters worldwide with eighteen Sisters, Novices, Postulants and Aspirants in the Boston house on Commonwealth Avenue.
Birnbaum’s series, Sisters of the Commonwealth, is featured in the Griffin Gallery at the Griffin Museum October 14 through December 4, 2014. An opening reception with the artist is October 18, 7-8:30 p.m. Birnbaum will do a gallery talk prior to the opening on October 18th at 6:15 PM
“The Sisters immediately welcomed me and appointed me their photo historian,” says Meg Birnbaum. “I watch as they artfully manifest into “avatars” of social activism with the seemingly simple goal of inspiring acceptance, compassion and the desire to shift intolerant perspectives while raising money, predominately for causes within the LGBT community,” Birnbaum says. “Photographs, and the human stories behind them can be tools for supporting social change. I hope that by sharing my photographs of the Sisters with the public, that I am contributing to and echoing their desire to build a better world.”
“The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were formed in San Francisco in 1979 as street theatre in a backlash to bigotry and eventually the Sisters became a support system for the AID’s crisis,” says Paula Tognarelli, executive director of the Griffin Museum of Photography. “Birnbaum’s intimate portraits of the Boston Sisters reveal the giving spirit of the order. They also give voice to their mission that is We love you. We adore you. We respect you. We protect you. We serve you. We are your sisters.”
Meg Birnbaum has had numerous solo exhibitions internationally and her work is held in major museum collections. She teaches in the Photography Atelier at the Griffin Museum and resides in Somerville, Massachusetts. She has recently been “sainted” by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and is called Saint Meg-A-Pixel.