This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online.

Disability Arts Online

> > Gini

Artist and wordsmith, whose work engages with issues of access, from acknowledged physical needs to perceived symbolic exclusions. After being selected as one of DAO's New Voices in 2011, Gini's online presence has become an integral part of her arts practice

'People Like You' Building up and counting down: 4

6 April 2013

Blog

The white soft-sculpture of Jessie, a small life-size figure with roots for legs and arms. One arm in the process of becoming a wing, Jessie appears suspended against a dark background in which she is partially reflected.

Building up to live performances, counting down to the symposium, the tension mounts. Some great comments about 'People Like You', the assembled work of Liz Crow, Sue Austin and myself, include this one which makes me smile: If this is Disability Art, its very subtle, I can relate to it. It's mainstream, is that an insult? What I mean is it works for anyone. Everyone should see it. Since they first appeared in this exhibition, the soft-sculptures evolved from my Con.Text...

Comments: 0

Building up, Counting down: 2

8 April 2013

Blog

White felt letters spelling 'messy art' photographed on the Salisbury Arts Centre Altar Stage where Liz Crow will be Bedding Out

'People Like You' - the final week of the exhibition:   This is a powerful combination, if you can take it all in. The wheelchair artist talks about a hidden secret and seeing this, the subtle sum of it all, I can believe there is one. I can believe I'm on the brink of discovering it.   Here, now, on the brink of Bedding Out, caught up in this wave of interconnected protest, it's possible to believe in better. Caught up in the global impact of 'Creating the...

Comments: 0

Building up, Counting down: 1, 0, +1

11 April 2013

Blog

The Pink Grab rails on the white wall with large white felt letters spelling ARTY propped up on the 'People' section

Grab me. They invite me and grab me; they sign to the Kouroi standing self-absorbed and utterly armless. The mountains you move with humour far outsize anything done from the shadow side of despair. Counted out!  Where did the time go? The Symposium has been and gone, but its too early to be taking stock - Liz Crow is Bedding Out and 'Creating the Spectacle! 360' has not yet been packed away. 'People Like You' will be there until Sunday with Kosta, Jessie, Fons and Kouros...

Comments: 0

White lines and Spatial Justice.

12 April 2013

Blog

The parallel White Lines of Sue Austen's Freewheeling, on a grey slabbed Salisbury pavement

White Lines; lead you to me. To 'People Like You', to glossy pink grab rails, to Kouros, Koure and co. They lead your thoughts to created geography, to the man-made spaces that largely unnoticed, influence and dominate our thoughts, our moods, and consequently our lives.   Wheelborne, I seldom interact with playful geography, confined by the history and imagination of architect and planner I roll oppressed by the hierarchy of power. The constant reminder of status in flights of...

Comments: 0

Monday Morning

15 April 2013

Blog

A powerchair at the top of some indoor steps, with white felt letters spelling RAMP climbing the treads

Monday morning and time to get out. Time to remove 'People Like You' from the temporary home in Salisbury Arts Centre Gallery and place them in storage until May and their reemergence into the spotlight at the Lighthouse in Poole. And I can't help but make links to Bedding Out (Liz's bed was here on this stage)... that temporary visibility, the Big Splash in the limelight, followed by a period of rest, assessment, evaluation and repair - behind closed...

Comments: 0

Activism 2013 and me.

1 May 2013

Blog

On a pale cream background,  two white soft-sculpture roots curl into circular shapes echoing wheels, a third root coming out of them has spines or slim fins for a watery reflection

Needing my soft-sculpture to continue meaningful narratives in the context of its next venue, the Lighthouse, Poole, I have been working on a suplimentary piece inspired by the very different environment. I have described 'People Like You' as an exhibition bringing together the work of Liz Crow, committed and caring artist/activist; Sue Austin, bold and challenging artist/researcher and Gini, dreamer and poet, artist/social commentator. You'll notice that I don't actually think...

Comments: 0

Broken vessel.

4 May 2013

Blog

partial view of Mirka's bowl showing the dark blue glazed interior and the white points of slip spelling out the braille poem on the exterior.

Settling People Like You into the Lighthouse Gallery space was not without problems, compromise and pain, but for me all of that paled into insignificance on discovering that Mirka's beautiful bowl had been damaged somewhere between being wrapped up and packed in Salisbury and being unwrapped in Poole - the day before the exhibition was due to open. The large chip on its rim is a complete puzzle, and the sadness is pervading. The bowl was part of a collaborative installation with ceramic...

Comments: 0

The need to create

27 June 2013

Blog

White paper on white canvas, curls, cones and tubes assembled to represent people the piece relies on the play of light to make visible a central wheelborne figure flanked by two standing figures.

Recently I've had difficulty living with torn-to-pieces-hood. I wept readily. And this in spite of some blessing of sun, some lightness of clear blue sky, and momentary gentle warmth seeping through my skin to delight my bones. Waking through the night in a restless tangle of cotton shroud, I was tempted towards tantrums, until reminding myself that these are the good old days and I am not just surviving. I have a life! I've not been well and this, on top of the demands of disability,...

Comments: 0

Twirling in the Intermediatheque

4 September 2013

Blog

Looking down from the floor above, this photograph shows the large, pale crocodilian skeleton pinned climbing a black background. The tip of the tail skims the ground and the nose reaches person-height on the floor above that I photograph from.

At 37C, but feeling hotter, the atmosphere is quite oppressive and staying in a temperature controlled environment sounds like a rather good idea. Taking the metro into Tokyo station and then strolling underground to Kitte - billed as the place to broaden your horizons on the shopping front - does mean minimum exposure to the biting heat of the sun. The underground walkways are lined with adverts - one that seems to be for washing powder consists of an oversize piece of actual white fabric sewn...

Comments: 2

Just the weekend to review my Olympic legacy...

29 July 2013

Blog

on a dark grey background is the silhouette of a woman filled in with a portion of the Union Jack Flag. At her missing arm is a quote from Nelson Mandela: To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. And at her feet a quote from

I'm painting my decking, well not at this moment as its hard work and frequent bouts of horizontal recovery are necessary. As I paint, and no not its not exactly paint, more of a wood stain, I think about what's going on under the surface. It's a fair bet that the wood is rotting from the bottom up; I compare my decking to painted sepulchres and am suddenly embarrassed by a sticky wetness around my nether regions.  Years ago when my first child started moving himself around he...

Comments: 0

Everyday artist

30 July 2013

Blog

on a dark grey background the silhouette of a man without hands is filled in with the red, white and blue Union Flag and shows the text: 'human rights: the right to live like a human, the right to live' and a quote from Aung Sann Suu Kyi: the truest measu

Homegrown The Heroic in the Everyday Salisbury Arts Centre, 6th July- 18th August Hijack All Dayer - Free - Youth Arts festival My day had been long and full of potential stress and misunderstanding, the drive to Salisbury in the radiant heat of baked metal, was in a Friday rush hour, I was tired and prickly, but I travelled with anticipation. First held in 2011, the Arts Centre's exhibition of works by resident artists, workshop leaders and participants has been an annual success and...

Comments: 0

Human Rights

31 July 2013

Blog

third in the series of Union Flag filled silhouettes, this one a woman with a quote from Dag Hammarskjold: Freedom from Frear could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights

I recycle words. We all do it. They say something different each time. I recycle images too. People used to do that as well, back when there was no sharp divide between image and word. Years ago I spent time in the theatre sketching rehearsals; a scary, fast-paced scribble of a task which I found exhilarating. Periodically I would revisit my stack of sketch pads and extract material for evolution into other states, for exhibitions and illustrations. Recently I found myself reusing images from...

Comments: 0

With #beddingout in mind:

9 August 2013

Blog

a rather colourless pen and wash image of a double bed, with brass knobs, pillows and folded back cover, and a glowing tombstone shape bearing the words: love me love my chair, doesn't have the same endearing appeal as dog or child, and meet the sticks ha

Liz Crow 'Bedding Out' is happening in Edinburgh, today and tomorrow, right now, so here #inactualfact, some excepts from 'On Borrowed Crutches'  poetry on wheels: I have been prescribed a normal life, life by the fifteen minute rule. Sitting, standing, lying down; repeat. So, now I need to ... go shopping. First to get me ready: crutches to the elbow, shoes and bags and Mmmh, fifteen mins standing. Me? No. And thats not even walking. Yes I need to take a chair....

Comments: 1

Tokyo Time

29 August 2013

Blog

This is a Japanese advert for MacDonalds with two stick figures under the M, a pointing arrow and some Japanese text

Tokyo time has come around again. For a week or so before I travel, the prospect dominates my life. The preparation consumes me. I pace myself to live with this division of attention, I am well practiced in the phenomenon, but this year is more fraught than usual. I think of my father talking about the see-saw between countries and cultures and the frustration of being constantly on the move yet going no-where. I recall my grandmother packing to move us to the summer house on the beach for the...

Comments: 0

Independent Travel

29 August 2013

Blog

A Tokyo pavement with a variety of longer grass growing up between crazy-paving style slabs in pinky colours and a dying cicada trapped upside down under the grass

The twelve hour flight has become familiar to my body, but the details vary each time.   Processing me at Heathrow in my own powered chair confused almost everybody. I revelled in the freedom and independence, whilst the assisted-travel  assistants consulted the rules and regulations. I successfully negotiated myself to the door of the aircraft on my own wheels and then watched as the powerless skeleton (without batteries and without the contoured cushions that make sitting for more...

Comments: 0

Traditional Modern Kabuki

30 August 2013

Blog

A tall shiny building in Tokyo viewed from across a busy road with the new Kabuki theatre roof just about visible in its reflective surface.

I was greeted with a gift, tickets to Kabuki in the newly finished theatre. The performance will take place at the beginning of September, I am very pleased and so curious. The old Kabuki theatre had been pulled down and the redevelopment images of the site showed a massive skyscraper office block behind a small redbrick box, a modern and efficient, if disappointing, use of the space. I had been sad not to have been able to experience this traditional Japanese event in the appropriate...

Comments: 0

Lunch at Roppongi Hills

31 August 2013

Blog

Photo of double poster for exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum Gallery; with Jeff Koon's gold and red Sacred Heart on the left and a Harry Potter image of the three main children and owl on the right.

Day two takes me to Roppongi Hills for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and coming out of the elevator from the metro we discover that the entrance to the complex (just before the giant spider sculpture) is decorated and paved with red dots. The Mori Art Museum Gallery is hosting a tenth anniversary exhibition titled 'All You Need Is LOVE - from Chagall to Kusama and Hatsune Miku'  The dots theme carries around the area, with activities for children and a larger than life figure of a...

Comments: 0

All You Need Is Love

1 September 2013

Blog

Colourful image of protruding, twisted, sausage-balloon-like shapes on a black background, this is Kusama Yayoi's Love is Calling displayed in a mirrored room where the black dots on each shape are constant, but the colours are frequently changing. Here t

All You Need Is LOVE ....Mmmh maybe, but a little order in chaos would be good too. When we returned to the Mori Art Museum next day for this exhibition there were queues for tickets snaking out along the corridor as far as the eye could see, but I had my suspicions. And yes, this queue was indeed for Harry Potter - the Exhibition; so we bypassed the many, purchased tickets for LOVE and ascended to the 52nd floor.  My happiness at avoiding the crowd was short lived, this exhibition was...

Comments: 0

The universal appeal of mice and curry

2 September 2013

Blog

Against a white wall this photograph of a doll sitting on a clear plastic chair, both doll and chair decorated with white plastic shapes that might look like flowers, is helped to visibility by the contrasting black floor.

Station access improvements mean I can now take a train around the coast and explore wider Tokyo. So today we head out east and I get seat-side view of a popular commuter belt: neat little houses with small clumps of greenery around them, interspersed with tower blocks of flats, sprawling IT businesses and occasional unexplained rusty eyesores.  And these groups are repeated like flowers in a Gertrude Jekyll garden, stretching, curling around the coast accommodating roads, rail and rivers....

Comments: 0

Sumida River in Autumn

3 September 2013

Blog

This possibly life size (I'm too high above to judge) white statue of a young girl with her summer hat in both hands raised high above her head, stands on a plinth facing the shimmering water of Sumida River. The plinth sits among low greenery and between

I have reacquainted myself with the river that runs through this part of Tokyo. Sumida dances powerful, slow and flirtatious beneath her silver skin and I smile to see her. I am on the other side, the side I have previously admired for its green appearance. This river walk is higher and there are trees full of the electric fizz of cicadas, the harsh yet juvenile squawks of something unseen that sounds like it should be in the parrot family and the bold 'qua' of unknown corvids. It's...

Comments: 0

Vinoly - Tokyo to Battersea

5 September 2013

Blog

In this photograph, looking up at blue sky from the inside of Vinoly's glass atrium one gets a magnificent view of the curved white steel beams that give this space a hint of the nautical

Today we stroll into Tokyo Station area, its not quite so hot - 36C that somehow feels a little easier than yesterday's 37C. The idea is to take a roundabout route to Tokyo International Forum - an impressive piece of architecture that I have passed many times but not ventured in to. There are exhibitions here, but today I want just to explore the creation of Raphael Vinoly (the architect whose design for the long awaited redevelopment of Battersea Power Station is predicted to be completed...

Comments: 0

On attitudes to diversity...

6 September 2013

Blog

Photo of a glass roof decorated with red dots, from which hangs a green swing with a doll/ child figure in a red dress with white polka-dots. She has yellow skin also with white dots, blue and black spotted shoes and a black and red spotted pudding-basin

The Roppongi Art Triangle is a favourite destination, but each Japan visit I also go to Roppongi Crossing to attempt a new pay-as-you-go SIM card for my Japanese phone. It's a frustrating experience, but I persevere. I have to bring my passport. And every year it is rejected because it does not contain my address. My driving license is not acceptable.  I roll into the SoftBank (phone) shop and explain my need to a young man who listens, nods, says this sounds possible and issues me...

Comments: 0

Yokohama old Chinatown v new Life Entertainment Mall

7 September 2013

Blog

A photo view into Chinatown, including power lines. Typically present on Japanese streets are leaning poles with a mass of heavy, black power cables connecting up homes and businesses. The poles in Chinatown are painted red.

I'm heading out again for Yokohama - visits to Japan would not be complete without my annual pilgrimage to its Chinatown. We make a stop at Minato Mirai to check out Mark Is, the new Life Entertainment Mall. It has 30 rest and relaxation areas (for adults and children) a fruit orchard and vegetable garden on the roof with workshops and hands-on gardening experiences; a natural experiences museum and like all the new shopping malls it has art exhibition space. It also links directly to...

Comments: 0

Tropical Storm, Earthquake and Underground Tunnels.

8 September 2013

Blog

A calm and sunny photograph of the path down to the river. The red-brick paving, a little too steep and uneven for my wheelchair, curves left beside topiary bushes and under the leafy tunnel of tree branches

TV news was showing images of tropical weather system hitting other parts of Japan. Pictures of flooding and ruined buildings, of people battling the elements and of the clean-up, with electricity supples being restored and people being offered emergency food parcels. More wind, rain and flooding was expected. And suddenly everything was shaking; the floor, the furniture, me. The whole building was shaking and everything in it. I'm in a different, newer building this year, it seems to move...

Comments: 0

Making Sense of Different.

9 September 2013

Blog

A sunny-day photo of one of the main roads through Ginza, closed to traffic for several hours each weekend. Blue garden umbrellas, tables and occupied chairs in the middle of the road. A tall glass building with slim, white, vertical stripes of concrete,

The wet weather has caught up with me. The morning was spent watching gallons of rain bucketing out of the sky and the planned sashimi in the Ginza district of Tokyo was replaced by a takeaway version. I was surprised to see the delivery in gold-decorated, black lacquered wooden bowls, with utensils, on a black wooden tray and accompanied by a stainless steel thermos flask of soup.  The food was delicious and one leaves the empty stuff, in the bag provided, down in the entrance lobby where...

Comments: 0