So, I thought and pondered and drew spider charts and wrote lists and still had too many ideas/projects and too little time. And I still, if the truth be known, was a little under-stimulated with the simple idea of one colour as a theme compared to the concept themes we had been working on. So I decided to combine three goals of mine into one:
1. To participate in Twelve by Twelve
2. To focus more on translating inspirations from other cultures, particularly African into my own work and
3. To continue to develop the social issue commentary that surprised me by coming out naturally in my earlier Twelve by Twelve work.
So, for pink, I started to look for inspiration by googling 'pink Africa'. I very soon found this fabulous bamileke headdress. ( Thanks to Africa Direct for permission to re-post the photo from their shop). I was instantly inspired which is just as well as I had only a few days to create this before we left the country.
I combined this African inspiration source with the initial musings I had with the association of pink with gay issues and of gay issues with the AIDS epidemic, particularly in the 1980's. Of course, AIDS is no longer a gay only issue ( if indeed it ever was).
At the end of 2008 22.4 million adults were living with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Around 14.1 million children are AIDS orphans. Anti-retro viral drugs are not always readily available. there are issues of pricing, of distribution, of concepts of time and lack of wrist watches ( the drugs need to be taken at regular intervals), of the regular nutritious meals that need to accompany the medication and of a shortage of health care workers caused by the disease itself and the temptations of emigration.
This quilt is made with pink striped fabric sources from The African Fabric shop and originating from West Africa. I have used the pink triangle symbol often associated with the gay rights movement but inverted to its original orientation when used as a marker for homosexuals in Nazi Concentration camps. Its original symbol of potential death is further alluded to by the addition of a black triangle. I hope that the whole looks like a version of an African shield, which is what the drugs would provide against the devastating physical and societal effects of this disease.
The embellishments are not beads but pink pills as a comment on the fact that medication in Europe is so cheap it can be used as a play thing - but in Africa only 42% of people who need anti-retro virals get them. They are slippy little beggars and so they are glued on and then a cradle of stitches added. The green silk background, which is seed stitch quilted, symbolises the new lease of life drugs can give. Although the photo may not reveal it well, the black triangle is textured to mimic the inspiration piece by machining diagonal strips of black knitting tape onto black fabric.
If this topic interests you you may want to look at the quilts and website of Mary Fisher who is a UN AIDS ambassador. She has quilts also with messages on this topic but done so much better than I achieved in a hurried few days - I do not think this is my best Twelve quilt.