Derek Jarman plaque unveiled
Derek Jarman, the much-loved artist, film director and activist has been commemorated with an Islington People’s Plaque at start of LGBT History Month.
Renowned for directing films such as Sebastiane (1976), Caravaggio (1986) and The Garden (1990), Derek Jarman was also a stage and costume designer, author and gardener. He was outspoken about homosexuality and an advocate for queer rights and HIV/AIDS awareness.
In a ceremony timed to coincide with the beginning of LGBT History Month, the plaque was unveiled at 60 Liverpool Road by actress and singer Toyah Willcox, a friend of Jarman’s who worked with him on the film Jubilee (1978). 60 Liverpool Road is the site of Jarman’s former home (1967-69) in what was then a decaying Victorian house and artists’ cooperative. From his top floor studio, Jarman worked on his artwork and the stage and costume designs for both the Royal Opera House in 1967 and Sadler’s Wells Opera’s production of Don Giovanni in 1968.
Derek Jarman later became a passionate supporter of queer rights and was closely involved in the campaign to repeal clause 28 of the Local Government Bill (1987), and to lower the age of consent for homosexuals. He is especially esteemed for discussing his HIV-positive status in public, and encouraging openness about the disease.
He died in St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London on 19 February 1994 of an AIDS-related illness at the age of 52.
Speakers at the unveiling ceremony included Islington Mayor Una O’Halloran, Jarman’s former partner Keith Collins, and journalist and writer Neil McKenna, a friend of Jarman’s and fellow LGBT activist.
“Derek’s heroism, his courage and intellectual precociousness was matched by a personality of enormous charm. He was more interested in other people than in himself,” said Mr McKenna.