Introduction

As was done with the AIDS Treatment Center, Stony Brook panel, the purpose of this page is to analyze the physical aspects of this portion the AIDS Quilt.

The NAMES Project received block #5783, in 2007, and there are over 50 signatures on this panel. According to Roddy Williams of the NAMES Project Center in Atlanta, this quilt is what they call a “signature quilt,” which means that it was either hung up or laid down, so that anyone could write a message on it. Roddy informed me that the Chaplin of Drew University sent this panel.

The Quilt

Most panels on the AIDS Quilt are 3 feet by 6 feet, however, this panel is 4 feet by 6 feet. The whole panel is composed of a rectangle white cloth that has started to turn slightly yellow with time. Covering the quilt, signatures are written with colorful ink ranging from red to purple.

The words “DREW UNIVERSITY” are written with large letters and are written in a purple ink. These two words span a little less than 3 feet across the quilt, and they are about 6 inches in height. Instead of being bold and filled in, the words are written in a font in which there is space between the lines. The words are also hand written.

Directly below lay the words “WORLD AIDS DAY” in red ink. Much like the words above, these span 3 feet across and about 6 inches in height. The font used to write these words are different from the words above in that where the above font has straight lines, this font has more curves. Also, the “o” in the word “WORLD” is replaced by the red ribbon which represent AIDS.

At the bottom right corner of the panel, there is another red ribbon, however this one in sewn onto the quilt. It is about an inch in width and half an inch in height.

Since the most of the things on the panel are drawn on, the surface of the panel is smooth and soft. To the touch, it feels much like a bed sheet made from Egyptian cotton.

 

Yakko

“Yakko Warner.” Fandom.

One piece of artwork drawn on this quilt is the character Yakko of the Animaniacs. It is about two inches in width and three inches in height. The character was outlined with a purple marker, but it is not colored in. The nose was drawn and colored in with a red marker. A hand is drawn next to the head, and it appears to be in making a peace sign. In the same color ink right below lay the words “Stay Happy.”

There is some symbolism that can be found here. It can be a representation of a tribute to someone who has a similar personality to Yakko–someone who is very charismatic or funny. It could also also act as encouragement to someone with AIDS or as a reminder to stay positive and enjoy life. This is the very epitome of Yakko’s character. This video highlights Yakko’s personality through various scenes of the show Animaniacs.

BekkiAnimaniac. “7 Minutes of Yakko.”Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqdD4WEQjOw.

The Doodle

The next piece of artwork is a drawing of what appears to be a person. It was drawn with a purple marker, and it is about 4 inches in height and two inches in width. It is unclear, but the figure appears to have two eyes, long flowing hair and a wide, open mouth. It also seems to be wearing a long dress.

Unlike the drawing of Yakko, this piece seems to be almost subconsciously drawn, much like a doodle would be, which raises many questions and uncertainties. What is the purpose of having a doodle on this panel. Is it an act of disrespect, or is it an act of respect because only this person knows the meaning behind the drawing?

Since Drew University Chaplin created this panel, it makes me wonder if there is a more religious meaning behind this image. Is this a representation of an angel? Is there some other religious connection behind this image?

Interesting Signatures

As mentioned before, there are many signatures on this quilt. Most of them are words of encouragement while some are actual names. One message reads “In memory of Alex Konski and John Jordan.” Below this commemoration is a cross drawn in blue ink. This is located right next to “UNIVERSITY.” Another Name commemorated is “Dara Goldberg.” Many of the words encouragement are messages like, “God Bless,” “Never lose hope,” or “Have faith.” 

There are also many signatures with a red ribbon drawn next to them to symbolize World AIDS Day. This signature reads “Never Forget,” and it is written in black ink.

In addition to names and words of encouragement, there is a message written in foreign languages. This message is written in purple ink, and consists of large Korean words. There is no exact translation, but its meaning is like “Love, Joy, Peace.”

Another interesting signature featured on this panel is a quote by Rich Stearns. It is written in red ink, and it is 6 inches in height and about 7 inches in width.

The quote reads, “And when we think of our great, great, grand-parents, we think, How could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, forty or fifty years from now, are going to ask, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa” (Stearns).

It is interesting because Richard Stearns is an author whom writes many Christian books which raises many questions. Was this quote a representation of a loved one’s life philosophy? Did that person just enjoy Richard Stearns’ work? Is this a call to action?

Connections Between the Drew University Panel and the Stony Brook Panel

There are connections to be made between the Drew University Panel and the Stony Brook Panel. The first of these is the fact that both panels represent the mourning of communities. This panel is the product of the grief of the Drew University community whereas the Stony Brook Panel is the product of the AIDS Treatment Center’s griefs. While the Stony Brook panel commemorates the patients of the AIDS Center specifically, this does not so much act as a commemoration but more as a tribute.

Another connection to be drawn is that both panels come from communities that seem to accept and support those with HIV/AIDS. With this panel being created in 2007 this is less surprising. However, the unexpected aspect is that it is from a religious community. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at its height, there was a stigma surrounding those who contracted the disease with which some religious associations would not necessarily accept. The fact that a religious association created this panel shows that the attitudes and beliefs towards HIV/AIDS have shifted in a positive direction.

Work Cited

“Aids Treatment Center Stony Brook” panel. The AIDS Quilt. The NAMES Project Foundation, 117 Luckie St. NW:: Atlanta, GA 30303.

BekkiAnimaniac. “7 Minutes of Yakko.”Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqdD4WEQjOw.

“Drew University Signature” panel. The AIDS Quilt. The NAMES Project Foundation, 117 Luckie St. NW:: Atlanta, GA 30303.

Williams, R. “Personal Interview with Kristin Baker.” March 28th, 2018.

“Yakko Warner.” Fandom.