© the estate of Derek Jarman. Image credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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Blood red canvas with a heart half-painted, half-scratched into red ground. The word 'QUEER' is scrawled across the heart in a thick impasto style, flecks and smudges of baby blue and white paint are visible across the graffitied text as the undercoat is exposed by the scratched marks. Derek Jarman was diagnosed as HIV+ in 1986, causing expressions of sexuality and political protest to occupy much of his expressive output. This particular work marks his own defiance in the face of social stereotyping and increasing hysteria generated by the tabloid press surrounding the AIDS crisis. It could be seen as an ironic gesture playing on the violence and unfamiliarity wrongly dealt to homosexual individuals during this period.

Manchester Art Gallery







oil on canvas


H 251.5 x W 179 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from Richard Salmon Ltd, 1992

Work type


Inscription description

artist's inscription : method of mark : location eg brc : description eg artist's name : transcription


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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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