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95/339/10 Poster, 'Sydney Gay Mardi Gras 1988', colour offset on paper, designed by David McDiarmid, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1988. Click to enlarge.

Poster, ‘Sydney Gay Mardi Gras 1988’

Designed by McDiarmid, David in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1987-1988.
David McDiarmid (1952-1995). Studied film (& design*) at RMIT. Australian artist and outspoken Aids activist. Looked at love, art and life in the age of HIV. By 1994, more than 3380 people had died in Australia from AIDS-related illnesses (SMH 26/11/1994 ARTS p7). The AIDS epidemic was the focus of McDiarmid's creative output.

McDiarmid also collaborated closely with the Australian designer, Linda Jackson. He was art director of the Sydney Mardi Gras workshops from 1988 to 1990 and worked in mixed media, experimenting with new materials and technologies eg holograms and computer graphics.

His designs for the highly effective ACON Safe Sex posters and postcards in 1992 established him as one of Australia's most outstanding activist artists. His art and graphic designs were core to the war against intolerance and prejudice against gays and against people with AIDS. As the death toll from the AIDS epidemic rose, his work became defiant, graphically explicit and humourous. McDiarmid worked to build an identity and to improve the self-esteem of members of the gay community in Sydney, as well as helping many at the same time cope with the crisis of death and dying in the age of HIV. He himself died of AIDS on 25 May 1995.

* Ted Gott, Curator, Museum of Modern Art at Heidi, Victoria is undertaking research into the life and work of David McDiarmid.

Compiled by David McDiarmid



Object No.


Object Statement

Poster, 'Sydney Gay Mardi Gras 1988', colour offset on paper, designed by David McDiarmid, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1988

Physical Description

Poster colour printed on glossy white paper, advertising the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras of 1988. Colour offset on paper, depicting winged figure in red dress atop globe featuring Australia coloured in red, sunrise over Sydney Harbour and ornate lower decoration with pair of classical male figures, hanging fruit baskets and floral arrangements. 'FESTIVAL: FEB.5 - 28' and 'PARADE & PARTY FEB. 27' printed in banners on either side of the globe and 'McDIARMID' printed vertically lower right.


No marks



602 mm



Designed by David McDiarmid.



Produced as an advertising poster for the 1988 Sydney Gay Mardi Gras.


Credit Line

Gift of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Limited, 1995

Acquisition Date

19 December 1995

Cite this Object


Poster, 'Sydney Gay Mardi Gras 1988' 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 9 July 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, 'Sydney Gay Mardi Gras 1988' |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=9 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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