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Evolving Jessie - the body project / 21 August 2012

On a black background, a profile of Jessie's white fabrik head with a long root growing from her spine over her head and onto her cheek.

Jessie - portrait in progress.

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Jessie is looking good. Removing her hair was quite traumatic and I pondered the bald skull a while before deciding that it needed a little remodelling.

 

On the floor, a half-stuffed torso has joined the various body parts, I need more wadding before I can go further with the sculpture; it is hungry on wadding and I ferry the stuff home frequently. Tied to the back of my powerchair it gives a bulky profile that no-one would guess is a new body in the making.

 

Rooted people grow on the pages that I am so lucky to be able to sit outside and draw. I need to make the most of every good day.

I've just taken a break to Google 'rooted' in my quest for a name for the new man, and discovered rooted androids and superusers. I need to think about that.

 

Back in 2006 when Jessie lay in mute protest on her platform bed, superusers didn't exist. I had been drawing rooted people since art school, exploring issues of belonging, connecting and self-awareness, but I still left Jessie's seeking and reaching out as something suggested rather than created in 3D. The despair that engulfed me inhibited Jessie too.

At the time, Disability Arts was new to me and while it was giving me back a voice, that voice was very small and frail, I had yet to figure out how to use it.

 

 

Disability Arts found me;

held me spellbound in revelation;

poked and prodded at my strength

until my eyes opened in focus;

until my words made no-sounds,

until my fingers drew protests.

And remade the offer that is life.

The paralysing silence

shattered, and I became

somebody again.

 

 

 

Keywords: art,disability,disability art,diversity,empowerment,identity,kouros,poetry,symbolism