Derek Jarman:

Delphinium Days


15 June – 14 September 2024



Derek Jarman



Howard Sooley



Gordon Rainsford



Denis Doran



Derek Brown


‘Blue of my heart

Blue of my dreams

Slow blue love

Of delphinium days’


Artist and activist Derek Jarman (1942-1994) is one of the most important and influential figures in twentieth century British culture. As an early campaigner for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and people living with HIV and AIDs, he created art that sought to challenge the normative culture and reigning neoliberal politics of his (and our) times.

Jarman’s prolific artistic practice spanned painting, film, installation, writing, set design and performance. Possibly his most enduring legacy is his garden and former home of Prospect Cottage in Dungeness—a refuge and retreat that fuelled his creativity and has become a site of pilgrimage for visitors worldwide.  Jarman is perhaps best known today as a pioneer of experimental film while his fusing of art and activism is especially important in the development of many queer artistic practices.

Born Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman in Northwood, England, Jarman’s whakapapa connects to Aotearoa through his father Lancelot who was born in Canterbury in 1907. Though he never set foot in Aotearoa following his father’s return to Britain, Jarman’s familial and imaginative connection to the country is present in his writing and contributed to his love/hate relationship with a modern Britain under conservative political leadership.

This exhibition brings together rarely seen paintings and films by Jarman alongside photography and archival materials about the artist. Derek Jarman: Delphinium Days marks thirty years since the artist passed away from an AIDS-related illness at the age of 52. This is the first Aotearoa New Zealand exhibition of his work.


Derek Jarman: Delphinium Days has been co-developed by Gus Fisher Gallery and City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi. The exhibition is co-curated by Lisa Beauchamp, Curator of Contemporary Art at Gus Fisher Gallery, Aaron Lister, Senior Curator (Toi) at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, and Michael Lett.

The exhibition was made possible with the lead support of Tony Kerridge and Micheal Do, with additional support of the City Gallery Wellington Foundation, the Delphinium Days Exhibition Circle, and those who wish to remain anonymous. The Auckland public programme is brought to you by Burnett Foundation Aotearoa with additional support from the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust, the Sir William & Lady Manchester Charitable Trust and cinema partners, The Capitol Cinema. With thanks to the Keith Collins Will Trust and Amanda Wilkinson, London. Films courtesy of LUMA Foundation and James Mackay.

Derek Jarman: Delphinium Days will be presented at The Dowse Art Museum in partnership with City Gallery Wellington 28 September – 26 January 2025.

City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi logo   

   Burnet Foundation Aotearoa Logo

    Aalto Logo

    The Capitol Cinema Logo

This exhibition explores themes of illness and death, with explicit discussions of HIV and AIDS. A few of the artworks include religious imagery, strong language and some nudity. Please ensure children are accompanied at all times and consult a member of the gallery team if you have any questions.

Download a copy of our exhibition leaflet here!

Exhibition Labels




  • Low and variable lighting throughout
  • Low rope barriers in front of paintings
  • Moving image works with sound
  • Sofa-style seating
  • Large print labels available on request
  • Wheelchair accessible with staff assistance
  • Wheelchair accessible bathroom via lift
  • Guide dog friendly




  • Free entry
  • Complimentary exhibition and public programme leaflets
  • Please protect artworks by not consuming food or drink in gallery spaces
  • Please protect artworks by staying behind rope barriers at all times
  • Photography for personal use only, no filming or flash photography permitted
  • Wet umbrellas to be stored in the stand provided near entrance
  • Large bags or oversized items to be left with gallery reception





Sholto Buck





Sholto Buck





Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Central 1010

Tuesday – Friday:
10am – 5pm
10am – 4pm