The iconic UK AIDS Quilt in memory of lives lost is going on display for first time in 20 years
For the first time in 20 years, the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display to the public at St Paul’s Cathedral, and then at community venues across London, to commemorate the lives of those lost to the AIDS epidemic.
Positively UK is proud to be part of the coalition of charities that have worked to display this irreplaceable piece of international social history.
Hundreds of individuals made quilt panels in memory of loved ones who had died from AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, inspired by a global project that started in America.
The UK quilt panels will be on display at the Cathedral on 23 November, ahead of the AIDS Quilt Trail which takes place across London on the weekend of 3 and 4 December, where people can see the quilts for free at a range of community venues.
Alongside George House Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, Positive East, The Food Chain, and Sahir House, with support from Elton John AIDS Foundation and Gilead, we hope the exhibitions will help remember those lost, raise awareness of HIV to younger generations and help find a permanent home for the UK quilt to ensure its preservation.
The Quilts, on display to coincide with World AIDS Day, reminds us how far the UK has come in the fight against HIV.
HIV no longer stops those living with the virus leading long and healthy lives – but there is still much to be done to tackle stigma, stop transmission and diagnose the 1 in 6 who are unaware they have the virus.
To get involved on social media, use the hashtag #AIDSQuiltUK
Artist Grayson Perry, who is supporting the AIDS quilt project said:
“Collectively, the quilts are part of the largest piece of community art in the world – which shows just how important they are to our social history, and how special this event is.
“Thousands of people died from AIDS here in the UK at the start of the epidemic, and displaying this quilt coming up to World AIDS Day is a way to remember them and to reflect on how far we have come since the 1980s in the fight against HIV, thanks to incredible medical advances.
“I’m delighted to support the fantastic work the coalition of charities is doing to preserve this intensely moving piece of art and encourage everyone to witness this important moment in history.”
Jay Rayner, restaurant critic, writer and broadcaster, added:
“The Aids epidemic and the appalling number of lives taken by it was all too often portrayed in the media as being about a faceless mass of unknown people.
“In truth, of course, it was an all too large patchwork of individual stories; of real people with names and lives, with loved ones and families and careers and talents never quite allowed to reach fruition. How better to represent that than through the Aids quilt, which gives individuality back to so many people who risked becoming mere statistics?
“It is both work of art and a vital social document, and I wholeheartedly give my support to the coalition of charities and it’s ceaseless work to make sure the quilt finds the home it so richly deserves.”