Blood given, not shed

August 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm

With war and bloodshed inescapable in many places around the world, the French artist Hady Sy considers art his weapon. His “One Blood” exhibit carries a powerful message about the ability to save lives through donating blood — a concept Stanford Blood Center donors embrace every day.

Composed of vivid, powerful photographs of blood donors around the world, the exhibit eloquently express Sy’s message that “we are all alike on the inside, and the same powerful human bond runs in our veins, regardless of our lifestyle, language, shape, race, religion, color and heritage; and no matter how different we all are, our blood is one and it saves lives.” Blood is the universal symbol of life that connects humanity.

Originally shown in March 2013 in Beirut, Lebanon, at the UNESCO Palace, here is a snapshot of the diversity that “One Blood” captures:

Hady Sy's "One Blood" exhibit in Lebanon (Photo courtesy of Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group)

Hady Sy’s “One Blood” exhibit in Beirut, Lebanon (Photo courtesy of Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group)» 546 portraits of people ranging from 18 to 93 years old

» 546 portraits of people ranging from 18 to 93 years old

» 393 blood bags; 153 blood drops; 8 blood groups

» 161 origins/nationalities

» 279 countries/localities; 76 places of birth/homes

» 467 first names

» 182,000 miles and 102 flights

Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, Sy’s art has carried the messages of peace and the rejection of violence, terrorism, unfairness, war, religious discrimination and racism. For Sy, Beirut was a natural choice to launch the exhibit. Born to a Lebanese mother and a Senegalese father, Sy lived in Beirut until war broke out.

Like a blood recipient springing back to life, “One Blood” honors Sy’s first city’s return to life after a painful and devastating civil war that spanned 15 years. The images, of hundreds of people who have given their blood to save lives, symbolize the strength of the human spirit and a commitment to peace and humanity.

Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group, one of the largest banks in Lebanon, sponsored the exhibit as part of its philanthropic effort to contribute to the city’s rebirth, noting, “The donated blood gives a new meaning to hope, especially coming from a country rich in civilizations, religions and confessions, and constituting a historic link between the East and West.”

The exhibit is now on a world tour that launched on June 14, 2013 – World Blood Donor Day.