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Disability Arts Online

More Building up, Counting down: 3 / 7 April 2013


You don't look at it and think disabled.

It's art, it ticks all the boxes. It's inspirational

normal inspiration, you know? Not the sympathy kind.

Everybody can relate to it, without

all the usual triggers and it still makes you think.

I think art like this really does make a difference.


Around and during the Symposium (10/03/2013)  'People Like You' has the added bonus of Liz Crow and Sue Austin presenting live work.

I first met Sue in 2009 when she came to document 'Testing the Edges' and was bowled over by her engagement with the project. She was also the first person to appreciate and share my delight in the freedom of a wheelchair.

I began working with the concept of the chair as an animate creature in parallel to developing Jessie, my first soft-sculpture, in 2006. Technology and funding issues mothballed my project, but I've followed Sue's development of her amazing underwater wheelchair with great delight.

'Creating the Spectacle!' for me, resulted in my second Con.Text piece, Underwater Con.Text, which grew out of conversations around the concept, the testing, and the heart-stopping reality of the underwater Fleet Lagoon crossing.

 

 


She looks so free, so serene,

I can see its an artwork and

clearly a message of hope.

And so original. Where

did it come from, and where next?

 


Con.Text conversations allow words to inform my visual artwork within a framework that at least allows me the illusion of control. My third Con.Text piece, the DAO commissioned 'Creatives in Con.Text' felt like a complete departure from focusing on the wheelchair and an opportunity to refocus on access, diversity and created geography.

Imagine my surprise when the soft-sculptures, newly installed in Salisbury Arts Centre's Gallery Space, made instant interaction with Sue's underwater environment thus enhancing their own capacity to stimulate and provoke.

For me the wheels are pivotal and expansive. The alien environment is hopefully facilitating people to grasp the concept that wheels offer freedom, that the chair may be a paradox, but is never merely a prison.

 

You just know, looking at it, that

it says something, and you need to pause

and let it come to you. It is

unmistakeable, powerful; with

such a light, confident touch.