In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect and celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS–related causes. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Today the Quilt is a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic. More than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels — most commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS — have been sewn together by friends, lovers and family members.
The Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and remains the largest community art project in the world. The Quilt has been the subject of countless books, films, scholarly papers, articles, and theatrical, artistic and musical performances, including “Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt” which won the Academy Award as the best feature-length documentary film of 1989.
Via Press release:
The AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to New York City for a two-day public display, featuring 260 12-foot-by-12-foot sections of this internationally celebrated, handmade tapestry. Presented as a gift to the city by Kiehl’s Since 1851, the Governor’s Island display will begin with a special opening ceremony/press opportunity at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11. This opening dedication is a part of the fifth annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR, a charity motorcycle ride that raises funds and awareness for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic.
The Quilt display is free and open to the public and will be on view from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on August 11 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12. The display will feature more than 2,000 panels honoring over 5,014 individuals including many created by and for individuals who call New York home as well as panels created by leading fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren and BCBG to honor those in the industry who were lost to the pandemic. In recognition of the annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR, a new panel for The Quilt created by Kiehl’s will also be unveiled and dedicated at this event.
If you are in or around New York City please go and remember and pay respects to those who we lost during the darkest time of our history.
Governor’s Island is accessible by public transportation.