New Terry Higgins portrait unveiled at the Senedd as Welsh Goverment launches its HIV Action Plan
Updated: Jun 16, 2022
By Emily Bryant
We’re delighted to see that a new portrait of Terrence Higgins has been unveiled this evening (15th June) in the Senedd. The portrait, painted by LGBTQymru’s friend and contributory artist, Nathan Wyburn, marks 40 years since Higgins’s death as the first named British person to have died of an AIDS-related illness.
Terry Higgins was born in Haverfordwest, where he lived until joining the Royal Navy at eighteen and then moving to London. He collapsed at his job in Heaven and died on the 4th July 1982, aged just 37. Following his death, his partner Rupert Whitaker and their friend Martyn Butler founded the Terrence Higgins Trust to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.
Nathan Wyburn’s portrait of Terry is painted in the colours of the Welsh flag using heart shaped stamps – the symbol used by the Terrence Higgins Trust in their logo.
“As an artist who comments on and reflects the key social issues, and a proud gay man, being asked to mark the 40th anniversary of Terrence Higgins Trust is a huge honour” and he “wanted to make something that showed Terry as a young Welshman.”
At LGBTQymru, we believe that Nathan has absolutely achieved that and we’re proud that he was selected to commemorate such an important anniversary in our community’s history.
Importantly, the portrait coincides Welsh Government’s plans to end new HIV cases in Wales by 2030, taking new measures to form a future where no one else in Wales contracts HIV. These measures include opt-out HIV testing, a wider availability of the HIV prevention PrEP and HIV training for healthcare professionals.
The portrait is a poignant reminder of the diagnosis of HIV was tantamount to a death sentence, as treatment was not developed for the disease until 1996. A photo essay by Fast Track Cardiff and Vale on display in the Senedd echoes the portrait and presents how people can still live healthy lives after a HIV diagnosis.
The public consultation on the Government’s draft HIV action plan is now open and can be seen on its website.