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Disability Arts Online

Seeking art / 8 April 2011

Tokyo Metro Hat at Roppongi Hills

Tokyo Metro Hat at Roppongi Hills. Photo © Gini

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Disability Arts.
Deesha?
And words I do not understand.
Artist? Yes, artist, and
here we communicate.
I point to me:
disability.
Realisation dawns.
Oh, handicap.
No, oh no,
not here,
not us.

Today I return to the National Arts Centre and it is open. Getting in to the space is free for disabled people and carers, but the individual exhibitions cost varying prices. Tickets are bought outside, but all the information about the exhibitions is inside and the girl in the ticket office tells me there is no Japanese art in the building.

I go in anyway; there is a vast gallery of paintings by a group of local artists and it is free. The works are all large, but that is all they have in common; the quality varies a lot. I would guess there is no selection process. The whole area smells of fresh oils and is buzzing with visitors.

In the many aisles, I get lost, I keep thinking that I've been here before. Girls sitting in chairs, cleanly painted Western girls; roof-tiles, meticulously painted ceramic tiles with a mediterranean flavour; similar images punctuating a variety of all rather forgettable pictures.

The only one to stay with me is a disturbing, blue, Picasso style image of two naked girls looking stressed and unhappy.

Thinking that the artists themselves may be manning this exhibition, I try again to ask about Disability Arts. I am upset by the very negative body language that accompanies the realisation that I am asking about disabled artists.

I decide to explore Roppongi Crossing and Roppongi Hills before meeting up with SP for dinner. I am approached by a sad looking young woman who is possibly on drugs; I wave her away, not having the vocabulary to deal with the situation.

It is incredibly windy at Roppongi Hills and as I shelter in the circular shopping mall to take photographs she appears again:

Roppongi
with an el:
a drafty spot for the well-heeled.
No sticks here,
no chairs.
I sit in the Hollywood
Metro Hat and I
could be anywhere, but
for the language.
And just down the road
Roppongi Crossing
caters for the rest.
Here I was propositioned.
A slinky girl
snaked up to me
with a thrusting body
and words incomprehensible
except for kinky.