It is an act of mourning and the tolling of a bell that end Derek Jarman’s final film – “I place a delphinium, Blue, upon your grave”.

The acclaimed artist, filmmaker and gay rights activist completed Blue only a few months before he died from an Aids-related illness in 1994, aged 52.

On Monday (February 19), Islington and Camden LGBT organisation forum+ hosted a screening of the film at the Old Queens Head near Angel Station, to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

Jarman, who at one time lived within walking distance of the pub, at an artists’ co-operative in Liverpool Road, was one of Britain’s first public figures to reveal his HIV-positive status, in 1986.

His openness about the disease came at the height of the epidemic and amid rampant homophobia – Thatcher’s infamous section 28, which banned local authorities and schools from "promoting homosexuality by teaching or publishing material", was introduced shortly after his diagnosis.

Blue is a film which features a single shot of the colour blue, directly referencing Yves Klein’s distinctive monochrome painting ‘IKB 79’.

A voiceover, often spoken in verse, is delivered by Jarman alongside long-term collaborators Tilda Swinton, Nigel Terry and John Quentin.

The film documents the filmmaker’s battle with Aids and impending death. At the time it was made, Jarman was almost completely blind, save for “blue flashes” in his eyes.

Thirty years on, Monday's ‘Celebrating Derek Jarman’ event reflected on his illness, as well as remembering all those who have lost their lives to Aids.

But it also, like Blue, provided a life-affirming evening of poetry and discussion; Jarman mid-way through his film tells us – “I present you with the universal Blue / Blue an open door to soul / An infinite possibility / Becoming tangible.”

In front of an audience that brought together young and old, the screening was sandwiched by readings from Simon Maddrell’s poetic tribute to Jarman – ‘a finger in derek jarman’s mouth’.

Maddrell, who is open about his own HIV-positive status, paid tribute to Jarman’s willingness to speak about the disease in inspiring himself and others to do the same.

Islington Gazette: 'Celebrating Derek Jarman' provided a screening of 'Blue' and an evening of poetry'Celebrating Derek Jarman' provided a screening of 'Blue' and an evening of poetry (Image: Alex Marsh)

In his final reading of the night, Maddrell imagined himself visiting Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, where Jarman lived in the final years of his life.

He tells Jarman: “I’ll repaint the wall, on the side with the sun rising.”

It was an acknowledgment, perhaps, of the lasting legacy the filmmaker has left behind, and a promise to carry on his work as an artist and activist.

At the end of the night, when asked by an audience member what he would say to Jarman if he could speak to him today, Maddrell simply said: “Thank you”.