What is the NAMES Project? The NAMES Project works to enlighten and remember those who have lost loved ones due to HIV and AIDS. The mission is to not only think of AIDS as a bad thing but to remember the lives it took as it grows into a big global issue. The quilts that are being made are preserved and showed off to allow those to join together in harmony and become stronger as AIDS continues to take many lives. The quilts are also used to be analyzed and to be able to conduct research.
The quilt I chose to work with has the block number 5246. The number is displayed on the back of the top left corner of the quilt. Typically, names are given when describing a piece of artwork, but in this case, all of the quilts are distinguished by numbers. Each number is unique and only correlates to one panel. These quilts can be laid out vertically or horizontally. In this case, the layout of the quilt 5246 is vertical, allowing a more categorized look at the artwork that is displayed on it.
First and foremost, the title of this quilt is what the audience sees first. The title is, “A City Of Hope & Love E. ST. Louis.” The title is written in a dark, solid black color. The font appears to look similar to Times New Roman. Due to the background of the quilt being in an off-white color, the black words in the title pop out more. On the top half of the quilt, the words “A City Of,” is written, while “Hope & Love E. ST. Louis” is written on the bottom half of the quilt.
Secondly, the colors are simple, yet effective. On the top half of the quilt, the colors that are used, vary. Besides the color black, that was used in the title; there are colors such as blood red, sky blue, dark green, brown, yellow, black, and gray. There is a combination of vibrant and neutral colors emphasizing a more positive and natural approach to the quilt.
Next, besides the colors, many shapes are used to make objects and symbols. The red ribbon is a symbol of the solidarity of people living with aids. The red ribbon is enlarged in the center of the quilt. The inside of the symbol consists of a river with boundaries, grass, a building, a bridge, and a sun. These shapes come together to form a beautiful city with nature being a part of it.
Alongside with the objects and shapes that are made, the artist of this quilt has put great details in it. For example, the bridge is constructed with a gray thread, but the horizontal strips on it are made in a silver thread. Also, the black and gray building is built with a solid black filling and is dotted with white dots all inside the black portion of the structure. Lastly, the grass isn’t a dull dark green color; the grass is stitched with a dark green, leaf-like pattern.
Opposite to the top half, the bottom half consists of dark and only neutral colors. The colors used vary among red, black, gray, white, and navy blue. This approach initiates a more dull and broken aspect of the quilt compared to the top half. Although there are very limited and neutral colors, the theme is apparent and allows an even amount of effectiveness as the top half does.
Along with the simple colors, there is a simple shape as well. In the center of the bottom half of the quilt, there is a blood red broken heart shape, but it seems as if it is put back together. Inside the broken heart, there are rectangular figures making buildings. These buildings vary between sizes, tall and short. To fix the broken heart back together, the quilt has a navy blue upside down balloon with short silver lines inside the circle of the balloon.
Every quilt is different, whether it be due to the colors, design, or even the words that are in it. In this specific quilt, along with the colors and shape, the texture is exceptionally different. The title, AIDS awareness symbol, buildings, sun, bridge, river, and the boundaries all have cotton-like feel to it although not as soft. Whereas the broken heart has a soft, almost velvet feel to it. Also, the grass has the leaf-like detailing on it, which makes the texture very rough and coarse. Lastly, the navy blue balloon has a soft and velvety feel to it, and the short silver lines in it feel like glitter glue.
Although this quilt is simple, there are many important aspects to it. The AIDS red ribbon is the primary focus of this quilt. This symbol acknowledges the struggle people with AIDS face on a daily basis. It allows people with AIDS to know that they are not alone in the fight. The color red means strength and passion, while the ribbon emphasizes the HIV and AIDS aspect.
Background & History
The geographically targetted location of this quilt is E. St. Louis, Missouri. Back then, no matter where you lived, having HIV and AIDS meant that a person was gay. Many individuals thought that having AIDS meant that a person was contagious and often stayed away from countless individuals. E. St. Louis plays a pivotal role in this quilt. The East of Saint Louis was highly impoverished. People were left alone and were isolated, thus bringing in the broken heart that is portrayed in the quilt. Two brave souls named Sister Thomas and Sister Mary Ellen Rombach in the 1980s went to St. Louis to care for those with HIV and AIDS. They provided emotional support and cared for those affected. They exhibited valuable Christian character.
A City of Hope & Love E. ST. Louis. “The NAMES Project Foundation,” 117 Luckie St. NW:: Atlanta, GA 30303.
East St. Louis: One City’s Story. “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis,” 14 July 2016, https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/bridges/winter-20022003/east-st-louis-one-citys-story.
Hanlon, Michael. HIV/AIDS: a timeline of the diease and its mutations. “The Telegraph,” Telgraph Media Group, 29 Nov. 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/8920567/HIVAids-a-timeline-of-the-disease-and-its-mutations.html.
Rectenwald, Miranda. AIDS in the Metro-East Area: The Politics of Treatment, Care, and Housing. “University Libraries,” Washington University in St. Louis, 3 Feb. 2017, https://library.wustl.edu/aids-metro-east-area-politics-treatment-care-housing/.
The Red Ribbon. “World Aids Day Powered By Nat,” National AIDS Trust, 2016, https://www.worldaidsday.org/the-red-ribbon.