An Archive of Compassion: Online exhibit pays homage to Shanti’s work during the earliest days of the AIDS pandemic

Photo Credit: Judi Iryani courtesy of Shanti Projects: Histories of Shanti Project and the AIDS crisis

University of Minnesota graduate student Brendan McHugh can speak about Shanti with an academic measure—10 years’ worth, to be precise. After learning about Shanti from a friend, he began researching the organization and eventually focused his graduate work on Shanti’s role during the earliest years of the AIDS pandemic. The culmination of his research is presented in the online archive Shanti Projects, “a remarkable living, growing, interactive archive of photographs and ephemera from Shanti’s history,” as journalist and Shanti client Hank Trout stated in an article he wrote for A&U Magazine about Brendan’s work: “Compassion in Our Community.”

Like most people drawn to Shanti, Brendan’s interest in the organization is even more profound than his research—it’s personal. “The stories of clients and volunteers have drawn me to Shanti as well as the amount of self-reflection that Shanti’s mission requires of someone,” states Brendan. “[A]nyone can suddenly become debilitated or ill . . . there should be more places like Shanti, for any circumstance.”

Although Brendan is graduating from his master’s program this August, he hopes to keep his website Shanti Projects up and running and is working on a nonfiction book proposal about Shanti.

View the Shanti Projects archive

Browse the Shanti Projects website, signup for Brendan’s newsletter, and help identify people in the photos, most of which were provided by Judy Iranyi.

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