Pilgrimages #1: Prospect Cottage, Dungeness

Pilgrimages #1: Prospect Cottage, Dungeness

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Letterpress broadside, two-colour linocut illustration by Fuchsia Voremberg. Edition Size: 30.

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Derek Jarman was a radiant human in all endeavours: film, painting, writing, gardening, activism. His house on the edge of the sea in Dungeness remains as a testament to each of those forms of creativity, and offers a site of pilgrimage for those who combine art with activism (Jarman was a member of OutRage!). Much of what he demands for queer people in his last journal, Smiling in Slow Motion, kept from 1991 until his death in 1994, still needs to be fought for:

Queer people should demand equality in all aspects of life: legally binding unions, the right to bring up children, adoption rights, rights of access and property, equal opportunity in employment, an end to proscription in the military, an equal age of consent, inclusion in all sex education, a bill to outlaw homophobia in the media, an end to Church pronouncements on homosexuality, deletion of anti-queer statements in the Bible, establishment of teaching facilities in universities, a national archive (8 January 1992).

Dungeness is also a place for those who do not wish to assimilate into systems of oppresion that impact others or choose between harmful binaries—and his use of the word queer is key here and as relevant today as it ever was:

The word [gay] is an illusion, it was a necessary rallying point in 1970; with it came the ‘gay community’ to give us focus but it soon became a method of marketing nightclubs and clothing. […] I didn’t discover my sexuality to sell in — I want change. ‘Gay’ itself was a problem for the artists I knew, it did not describe us. If we had come up with ‘difficult’ that would have been better. Difficult News. Difficult’s the Word, thank God for Queer — Capital Queer, Queer Times. (11 July 1992)

The text reproduced on this broadside in honour of Derek Jarman is his own abridgement of John Donne’s (1572-1631) poem The Sunne Rising that is featured on the side of Prospect Cottage, as well as the entry from his journal detailing the day the poem was added to his house in Dungeness.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Pilgrimages is about creating portable, paper monuments that document places significant to LGBTQ+ history, some of which remain, some of which have disappeared, some of which are well-known, some of which deserve to be rediscovered.