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Deborah Caulfield's blog - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

I'll probably apply for the Shape Open. Here goes what! / 22 February 2012

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.
 

Keywords: art,disability art,disability horizons,exhibition,shape