David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly, Ants
A Fire in My Belly (Film Still) [Ants on Crucifix]


Color print from Kodachrome slide

7.875 x 9.875 inches

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David Wojnarowicz made “A Fire in My Belly,” dated 1986-87, at a turning point. In 1987 his longtime mentor and lover, the photographer Peter Hujar, died of AIDS, and Wojnarowicz himself learned that he was HIV-positive. Although his career was by then well established, he was backing off from involvement in the art world and on his way to becoming immersed in AIDS politics.

That “A Fire in My Belly” is about spirituality, and about AIDS, is beyond doubt. To those caught up in the crisis, the worst years of the epidemic were like an extended Day of the Dead, a time of skulls and candles, corruption with promise of resurrection. Wojnarowicz was profoundly angry at a government that barely acknowledged the epidemic and at political forces that he believed used AIDS, and the art created in response, to demonize homosexuals.

The photograph was a gift from David Wojnarowicz to fellow East Village artist Richard Morrison.


Work by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)