The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt has become an enormous community art project -“ sewn together it’s about the size of two football fields. The quilt itself tells the stories of thousands of people who have died from HIV/AIDS.
But the stories behind those who have sat and created the quilt’s panels -“ the families, friends and lovers of those who have died -“ have remained largely untold.
Film-maker Phil Mace has called for people with quilt-making stories to come forward and tell their stories for inclusion in a short documentary film.
Mace said he was keen to hear from people who felt passionately about the time they spent creating their quilt panels.
My goal as a film-maker is to present the spirit of these stories and hopefully share the emotions and the insights of the people who tell their stories, Mace said.
I have a deep respect for anyone who can tell their story. It takes a lot of courage to sit in front of a camera at any time, and the topic of death is such a paradox. Some who have been brushed with death may see that as a gift -“ and it could be a blessed release for some taken by it. Yet, for many left in its wake, death is a confusing maze.
The documentary will also feature interviews with some of the high-profile supporters of the Quilt Project, including patron Justice Michael Kirby.
Quilt Project committee officer Marcelle Cummins-Hoff told the Star the documentary would be made as an educational tool, and shown when the quilt was exhibited.
We’re trying to move away from the grieving, and start to focus on celebrating the lives of people who have died, and the people who have made a quilt, she said.
We’re just hoping people will approach us -“ and we hope that people maybe can remember the happy stories about making the quilt. Often when people are making the quilts they’re talking about the funny things the person had done, the nice things about them.
Quilt committee convenor Douglas Knox said the film project would work to share the personal experience of making a quilt with the gay and straight communities.
Anyone with a quilt-making story to tell should contact Phil by emailing quilt@ forum.com.au or by writing to Quilt Project Sydney, 23/94 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, 2010, or call Quilt Project Committee member Marcelle Cummins-Hoff on 9571 4373.