The Late Cartoonist and AIDS Activist Danny Sotomayor on Exhibit | Bleader

The Late Cartoonist and AIDS Activist Danny Sotomayor on Exhibit

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Friday, February 5, marks the 18th anniversary of the death of Daniel Sotomayor, the prominent and often controversial gay artist and AIDS activist. To honor Sotomayor's legacy, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is hosting an exhibit of his work, A Hero Comes Home. The title of the display is pointed: Sotomayor, who was profiled in a 1990 Reader feature titled The Angriest Queer, grew up in Humboldt Park, where the museum is located, but as a youth he endured abuse and homophobic bigotry. For Sotomayor to be saluted by a neighborhood institution carries a special message: as an openly gay Latino in the 1980s, Sotomayor was a leader for progress against the forces of hate and prejudice.

After graduating from Columbia College with a degree in graphic arts, Sotomayor contributed hard-hitting political cartoons to Windy City Times and other GLBT publications around the country; and as a member of the militant activist group ACT UP/Chicago, he gained attention for his public confrontations with Mayor Daley and other politicians protesting inadequate AIDS/HIV education and prevention programs.

Diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, Sotomayor was 33 when he died in 1992. His lover, noted Chicago playwright Scott McPherson, died November 7 the same year, also from AIDS complications at 33. Both were posthumously inducted into the city of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

A Hero Comes Home remains on display at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division, through March 5, with a special event marking the anniversary of Sotomayor’s death on Friday, February 5. The institute is open from 10 AM to 5 PM every weekday except Wednesday and from 11 AM to 3 PM Saturdays. For more information go to www.iprac.org.

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