I view these quilts as gifts from Spirit -- sent to help me, and others infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, transform the experience of AIDS from a journey of:

The quilts document my journey with AIDS. After descending into a state of hopelessness, approaching the brink of death with AIDS in early 1996, I experienced a healing miracle and the transformation that is possible for those challenged with life-threatening illness.
CHAKRAMAN (1998) reflects the reclaiming of my personal health and entry into a new state of energetic well-being and wholeness. On a symbolic level, the quilt was modeled after the 3’ x 6’ panels that have been created for the National AIDS Memorial Quilt to honor those who died of AIDS. In contrast to marking a death, this panel celebrates life’s energy and supports health. It was manifested just as the possibility of long term, healthy survival with AIDS was emerging. It was the first moment that an AIDS diagnosis presented the opportunity to heal into life, instead of into death.
AMBASSADORS OF HEALING (2000) reflects my continuing self healing through service to others and the bringing of healing energy to address the crisis of AIDS in South Africa. A golden beam of energy (the teaching and healing services provided) is being sent from the white hand (symbolizing the IAHH representatives and those who supported their journey) to address AIDS in South Africa. A black hand (representing the people of Africa who benefited directly and indirectly from the teaching and services provided) receives the light. The rainbow suggests unity among the races and reflects the learning and knowledge that flowed from the healing wisdom of the Africans who touched the healers making this journey and all those who heard their story of this journey.

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UNITY IS HEALING (2002) mirrors the integration of AIDS as one of the main threads of my life and reflects a deeper commitment to my sacred contract to serve as a beacon of hope for those facing the challenges of HIV/AIDS. The quilt uses a circle (wholeness and unity) to remind us AIDS is a global issue. The black and white fabrics, woven together, suggest the integration of effort that is, and will be, required to address AIDS at a planetary level. Unity, in our local communities and as a global community, will be essential as the medical, social, economic, and political impact of the epidemic become even more apparent. The circle is created by a spiral, reflecting growth and change--the process of coming to the same point again and again, but at different levels, so as to see the old in new light. The 7 golden spokes, which radiate out from the center, reflect healing light emanating from a unified center. The four colors of the quilt (red, yellow, black, and white) are the colors often used to represent the four directions in Native American medicine wheels.

All three of these quilts were created as part of fund-raising efforts to support organizations on the front line of managing the AIDS crisis. They reflect the energy of my ancestors (the Shermans are descendants of the Shearman family of England...those who sheared the sheep and wove the fabrics) and the love, support, fabric contributions, and hours of labor, by family and friends, that were required to bring these visions into physical form.

 

 

 

Tom Sherman

email: chakraman@earthlink.net

Calistoga, California: (707) 942-6467

Oakland, California:  (510) 451-0610