Tilda Swinton backs public appeal to buy Derek Jarman house

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LONDON (AP) — Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton has urged art lovers to chip in and help save the home of the late British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman for the public.

Jarman, whose radical and experimental films included “Caravaggio” and “The Last of England,” lived for eight years in Prospect Cottage, a former fisherman’s hut on a pebble beach at Dungeness in southeast England. He filled the house with art and created a colorful garden that still draws visitors to the stark headland, which is overshadowed by a nuclear power plant.

Jarman died in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness at 52, leaving the house to companion Keith Collins, who died in 2018.

Britain’s Art Fund has until March 31 to raise 3.5 million pounds ($4.6 million) to avoid the house being sold on the open market. That sum will buy the property, pay for its upkeep and allow it to be opened to artists and the public. Half the money has already been raised from public bodies and charities, and the fund launched a crowdfunding appea l Wednesday for the rest.

Leading artists including Jeremy Deller, Tacita Dean, Isaac Julien and Wolfgang Tillmans have given works to reward donors who give to the appeal.

Swinton, who appeared in several Jarman films including “The Garden” and “Edward II,” said the “small, black-painted wooden house with yolk-yellow window frames” would be “inspirational medicine” for future artists.

She said Jarman would be “extremely enthusiastic” about plan to preserve it, even though he once said he wanted his work to “evaporate” after his death.

Swinton said opening the cottage to the public would allow “future artists, thinkers, activists, gardeners to gain from it the practical and spiritual nourishment it lent him.”

The plan also calls for the Tate Britain gallery to receive Jarman’s archive of notebooks, sketches, drawings, letters and photos.

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