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I'll probably apply for the Shape Open. Here goes what!

No more prevarication! I'm definitely going for it.

Maybe.

Shape is currently inviting applications for the Shape Open Exhibition to be held at the Portobello Gallery, Notting Hill, London, 23rd April to 5th May 2012.

The Shape Open Prize of £500 will be given to the artist with the best works in show as selected by the selection committee. The People’s Choice Award of £250 will go to the artist whose work has been most voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

The theme is disability, but this is it not about showcasing the work of disabled artists. All works will be considered, from both disabled and non-disabled artists.

Tony Heaton, Shape CEO explained:

This call for submissions is open in every sense. The word, disability, is open to interpretation.

Ben Fredericks, curator at Shape added:

Disabled people have reclaimed the word disability; we don’t need to hang on to it. The focus is on the art, not the artist, disabled or otherwise.

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Might this be an open invitation for non disabled artists to express what we already know: that disability remains, to a large extent, something to be feared or dreaded, ignored or deplored?

And yet, to the extent that artists represent the masses, what a brilliant opportunity to test the mood of the nation.

In these days of cuts to services, the persistence of the right-to-die brigade, and the real threat of disabled people disappearing back behind the gates of institutions, I often wonder quite what people actually think; if they think at all, that is.

This will be only the second time I've submitted to an exhibition in over thirty years.

Moreover, I have never made a picture about disability. I've been doodling but as yet, no big ideas have emerged, although I'm working on it. Really I am. 

This is a version of an article I wrote for Disability Horizons.
 

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 22 February 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 24 February 2012

A bigger bummer

Once upon a time block-buster art shows were sweaty occasions where we crawled around the galleries in rugby scrums, catching brief glimpses of the exhibits if we were lucky. Most unpleasant.

Happily, the modern art of crowd control as practiced by the Royal Academy last week, meant that Hockney’s A Bigger Picture was, for the most part, a cool and comfortable experience. Entrance was staggered and numbers limited. There was space to move, with ease. I could stare and study the pictures for as long as I liked.

Except for the culture coach trippers.

I was sitting on the bench resting my bones, taking a longer look at the art, when along came a trio of ladies in lemon up from Leatherhead, complete with holiday hair and matching handbags. They stationed themselves between me and my hero, their bums in my face, nattering non-stop about some nonsense to do with one of their number who was not attending.

Eventually my amazed gaze got to them, and they sidled off to join the rest of their party. In the tea rooms, probably.

It’s a day’s work, going to an art exhibition. And a day’s work writing the review. So I’ll stop here
and get on with it.
 

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 30 January 2012

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 30 January 2012