Started in 1985 by a group of people mourning the loss of their loved ones who had died of AIDS, the idea of making a Quilt in their memory was conceived by long-time gay rights activist Cleve Jones. The concept was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, to help people with their grieving, and to help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. In 1987 the Names Project Foundation, the longest on going arts project in the world, was launched. Each quilt measures 3ft by 6ft and eight are sewn together to form a block 12ft square. There are now over 44,000 individual memorial panels, most commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS and sewn together by friends, lovers and family members.
Seen to date by over 14 million people in displays worldwide, the Quilt has only been seen in its entirety in Washington DC, the last time in 1996 when it covered the entire National Mall. It is a poignant memorial, and a powerful tool for use in HIV/AIDS prevention as well as being a work of art. In 1989 it was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1991 we were approached by the Scottish Names Project to make a panel in memory of Freddie. The Mercury Phoenix Trust commissioned Diana Moseley to design a spectacular panel for them which was given at the Wembley Tribute Concert by Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Diana Moseley was Freddie's personal costume designer as well as creating the costumes for all of the band during its 1986 The Magic Tour. In addition she worked with Queen on 10 of their promos and a further 5 with Freddie. Her other work with legends of the music industry include David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and Tina Turner among them. Diana works extensively in film and television and is presently working on a new BBC TV drama series.
Today, on World AIDS Day, let us remember the many people who have died of AIDS related causes over the years. The fight isn’t over and education and awareness continue to be crucial to overcoming this devasting disease. Thank you all for supporting the Mercury Phoenix Trust.