In this radio interview Gilbert talks about the history of the quilt in New Zealand and promotes an upcoming silent auction fundraising event. The source of this recording is unknown (possibly a radio station in Auckland). If you know the radio station, or who the interviewer is please get in contact.
The abstract covers a recording made on October 1, 1993, featuring an interview with Gilbert Smith on the topic of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt project. The project, initiated in New Zealand in 1988 following its foundation in the United States in 1985, serves as a poignant memorial to individuals who have succumbed to AIDS. Smith shares that at the time of the recording, the quilt featured 72 panels representing 128 names of people from New Zealand lost to the disease. Each panel is a confluence of 8 quilts, collaboratively crafted by friends and family members as an expression of their love, grief, and at times, anger over their loss.
The quilts are not merely commemorative items; they are used actively as educational tools within high schools. By touring the quilts around the country and presenting them to the youth, the project aims to humanize the AIDS crisis and promote awareness among a critical demographic. The response to this approach has been overwhelmingly positive, prompting the organization to seek additional funds to expand the educational outreach to more schools, particularly in the south of the country.
Contributors to the quilt are the bereaved loved ones of those who have passed away from AIDS. These individuals pour their emotions into the creation of quilts, and when they feel ready, they entrust the quilt to the project, making it a custodian of their narratives and of the broader human story of the AIDS virus. Smith notes that this initiative resonates on a global scale, with similar quilt projects in the United States and other countries.
Highlighting the international solidarity in the fight against AIDS, Smith mentions a significant display of quilts from 27 countries in Washington, emphasizing the worldwide impact of the epidemic. Additionally, they bring attention to encouraging developments in AIDS research, noting some promising studies being conducted, including findings concerning prostitutes in Nairobi and insights into how the virus invades healthy immune cells.
To support the ongoing effort to educate and commemorate, the organization has planned a fundraising event, a silent auction, and cabaret scheduled for the following Saturday at the Mandala New Market. The event promises to be an engaging evening, featuring notable figures such as Jeannette McDonald and Gary McCormick, as well as performances by the cast of the television show Shortland Street. Attendees of the fundraiser will have the opportunity to bid on over 200 items, enjoy music played by a big band, and partake in food and drinks.
The quilt’s significance is further underscored by a symbolic Tapestry centerpiece by Robert Ellis, which encapsulates the collaborative spirit between all genders in the community, drawing on the Maori tradition of weaving to represent unity and strength in the face of adversity.
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