TV Programme 'Grayson Arts Club' (March 2022) featured long term HIV survivor Jonathan Blake
making a new panel for the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt.
The original quilt from the 1990s consists of '48 twelve foot by twelve foot panels, each comprising up to 8 smaller panels' each of which 'commemorates someone who died of AIDS and has been lovingly made by their friends, lovers or family' with nearly 400 people remembered (UK AIDS Memorial Quilt
). It was inspired by the US AIDS quilt started in 1987 in San Francisco.
In June 1994 the UK quilt was displayed in London's Hyde Park, laid out on the grass alongside sections of the US quilt in the very moving 'Quilts of Love' exhibition. Here's a few photos I took a the time. As always wish I'd taken more and had a better camera!
|This section of the quilt was made by women prisoners at FCI Dublin, a prison in California.|
|'Remembering those who died without dignity and respect. Silence = death'|
|'Although our bodies are confined in prison, our hearts are free to be with our loved ones who died from AIDS'. Not sure what prison this came from, but if highlights that the prison system in many countries was a frontline in the HIV struggle due to the criminalisation/incarceration of intravenous drug users who were at high risk of HIV. Many people died from AIDS while locked up instead of being cared for in the community.|
|'Cumann Haemfile na hÉireann' - Irish haemophiliacs, a reminder of those who were infected by HIV through contaminated blood products.|
|Jasmine, 24 April 1992 to 26 December 1992: at this time babies were still being infected through 'vertical transmission' (i.e. acquiring HIV from HIV+ mothers) before new drug treatments largely prevented this |
|Panel for Joe, Chain Reaction (1980s fetish club held at Market Tavern in Vauxhall); and from Act Up Ireland - 'don't let our epitaph read we died because of complacency and denial'|
There's a great recent article by Clifford McManus in History Workshop on the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt
: '40 years on from the first HIV related deaths, and despite amazing advances in the prevention, treatment and support of people living with HIV, stigma still exists. The AIDS Memorial Quilt continues as a living piece of community art through which stigma and attitudes to HIV can be challenged. Every time it is displayed in a public place it tells the stories of real lives lost. It draws the memory of a person, and all those who have died of AIDS and AIDS related illnesses, out of the shadow of stigma into the light of celebration'.
Also a good article by Dominic McGovern at Vice
|Hyde Park, 1994|