In Washington, D.C., we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Quilt in 2012. Since its inception in 1987, the Quilt had grown to 48,000 panels, weighed 54 tons, and if put out in its entirely would cover 1.3 million feet (54 miles). Each 3’ by 6’ panel of the Quilt represents the life of a single person who has succumbed to AIDS, and usually consists of the person’s name and personal statements of what was dear to that person, including a lengthy eulogy one man composed for himself, or very personal effects such as teddy bears, pictures, etc. Most of the panels were made after the person died, and it was parents, lovers and friends of the deceased that created the individual panel for their loved one.
On October 11, 1987, the Quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It covered a space larger than a football field and included 1,920 panels. Half a million people visited the Quilt that weekend, and I was one of them.
The Quilt returned to Washington, D.C. in 1988, 1989, 1992 and 1996. Each time, the Quilt, like the AIDS epidemic, had grown dramatically larger, and today at 48,000 panels, the Quilt is the largest community art project in the world.
In 1989 the AIDS Quilt was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.7
Thank you for the group “Gay Men” for featuring this photograph.
Camera: Canon Rebel XTi 400D
(ISO: 100; SS: 1/1600; AV: 6.3; Lens: 17-85mm)