Derek Jarman ‘Protest!’

During my portfolio review with short supply, I was recommended to visit the ‘Protest’
exhibition which showcases Derek Jarmans’ queer art work and moving imagery at
the Manchester Art Gallery. I found that the Derek Jarman exhibition had some
similarities to my own work.

Jarmans’ ‘Protest!’ project explores his sexual identity, his activism within the Queer
community when Thatcher’s Section 28 bill was introduced in 1988 and in the
1990’s as anti-gay violence rose during the HIV panic and also his own personal
experience with AIDs. Jarmans’ archival collection of photographs and paper
clippings, his collection of medication bottles and boxes and landscape
photographs taken of his garden which he tended to as a hobby whilst he battled
illness all appealed to me and made me consider how I could present and develop
my own work and how it could be exhibited. Jarmans’ use of his garden as a physical
piece of Artwork signified as a metaphor of association with his illness which
didn’t occur to me until reading an abstract about the work. Looking at the bright,
open images of his garden did not make me think of the usual emotions and
concepts around AIDs and HIV.

Visiting the ‘Protest’ exhibition made me consider how I could present my work in the
future and how I could use spaces metaphorically to convey emotion that wouldn’t
necessarily usually be used, as Derek Jarman did with his garden. 

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