Welby is the artist who painted this panel for Kevin. He writes:
Kevin held the New Zealand title in the triple jump and trained some of the country’s best women athletes. He taught physical education and was also active in theater in lighting design and production.
Welby painted the the image of Kevin on calico and the words on it reference the comment Kevin made about dying of AIDS.
I didn’t know that a human heart could be so strong.
In those last weeks, when your body had wasted away
to less than an echo of itself
when you were too weak to even close your eyes
it kept beating
And I remember
when you won the National title in Hamilton
The last jump in a battle against the best in the country
You came dancing across the field
Your heart flung wide across the stadium
And I remember
The intimacy of your love
the flowering of our worlds
the warmth of your body nestled in my arms
… and the beating of your heart.
You told me how hard dying was
..the hardest run up to the longest jump…
And you were afraid to go.
Angry at this disease that should come unbidden
to a man so strong
so full of heart
So I sat and watched
your face set firm against the fading light
and I have painted you
with the wings of an angel
the wings of a dancer and an athlete
… and a man
Go with grace Toddy
A son of God on a final journey home
Like the beating of a heart.
Welby, October 1998
On 16 April 2014, the New Zealand Film Archive hosted an exhibition entitled 30 looking back at the early history of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand, mainly from TV news items and other TV programmes from the time. The exhibition marked 30 years since the first person with AIDS to die in New Zealand left us, and also the fact that the majority of the early deaths (and also the most of those rememberd on the NZ AIDS Memorial Quilt) were of people in their 30s.
With Welby’s permission, the image of Kevin and the wording on the Panel appeared on all the advertising and other printed material relating to the exhibition. The Panel itself was one of five that were on display for the duration of the exhibition.
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