13 October 2011
By Colin Hambrook
The Disabled Avant Garde have published a four minute film on youtube of their protest at the Liberty Festival on London's South Bank on 19 August 2011.
The film shows Katherine Araniello and Aaron Williamson dressed as death, invading the stages in the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre. Their message to the crowds at Liberty was a hilarious provocation. Taking the microphone Katherine admonished the startled audience in the Clore Ballroom to go home. Their banner read 'Disability Art is Dead'.
Taken unawares at the end of a performance by the Rhinestone Rollers in Theatre Square, outside the National Theatre, Mik Scarlett responds: "Oh my God, it's Death. Were we that bad!"
The protest was a response to the blurring of the political message that Disability Art stands for, in essence; an impromptu demonstration at the watering down of Art that stands up for the rights of disabled people and challenges discrimination within society.
The text at the end of the film reads:
Sick of the ‘balloons and banners’ culture of celebration attached to disability art;
Sick of cheerleading for the Mayor and the Olympics;
Sick of juvenile forms of entertainment like juggling, circus acrobats, kids theatre and rubbish cabaret;
Sick of crowd-pleasing wannabe-ism and stumps-out performing-seals;
Sick of the shameless cronyism of the disability arts funding system;
Sick of the lot of it, those churlish, professional irritants
DISABILITY ART IS DEAD: LONG LIVE DISABILITY ART