Thursday, July 27, 2006
Derek Jarman, filmaker, gay rights activist, writer and gardener, lived in a little fisherman's cottage on Dungeness, a lonely spur of land sticking out to sea in southern England. HIV positive and eventually dying of AIDs Jarman created an amazing life-affirming garden out of the rocky shale surrounding his cottage. Full of sculptures made of beach junk, vegetables, stones and rare flowers collected from seeds in hedgerows and by the side of the road, Jarman's garden and life is an inspiration to all artists.
Jarman's final diary is called "Smiling in Slow Motion" and is a record of his final days of living. Even when bitterly ill Jarman was still raging at political injustice, speaking out about hypocrisy, making films and paintings and planting seeds. When I feel that the life of an artist is a hard one, or wonder what kind of cruel, indifferent world we live in, I think of Derek Jarman's courage and fierce, burning creativity in all areas of his life.