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

Disability Arts Online

> > Dolly Sen

Madvent Calendar Day Eight

'Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.'
George Bernard Shaw

Posted by Dolly Sen, 8 December 2014

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 8 December 2014

My Madvent Calendar is on its way

Beware, it's on its way...

My madvent calendar, which will reveal a cartoon a day in the countdown to Xmas.

I make no apologies for the terrible festive mad-related jokes that I will inflict upon you.



Posted by Dolly Sen, 29 November 2014

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 29 November 2014

A patchy Indian

Over the last 18 months vitiligo has been in my life. Vitiligo is a condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to the lack of a chemical called melanin. Nobody is sure of its cause but it is an autoimmune condition. Maybe I have it because I am always having to fight bullshit.

It puts to bed of nails the stupidity of racism.  I will ask Mr Farage and any racist politician: Does the white part of me have more rights and privilege than the brown part of me? Will the white part of my hand be allowed to stay in this country, but my fingers have to leave? It is particularly lovely that when I stick two fingers up, they are both brown and white.

People give me dirty looks, but the dirtiness belongs to them, not me.

Am I less beautiful, should I hate myself more because of it? Should my difference bring me shame? Does this sound familiar to people who are discriminated against or thought of less than? I guess my training has made this less of a thing to worry about. 

The only ugliness is in the eye of the beholder and in the paradigms that condition both the eye and the beholder.  

Will I ever cover it up? No, unless it makes the shape of a penis on my face. I ain’t fucking stupid. 

Posted by Dolly Sen, 7 November 2014

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 7 November 2014

Buy an invisible person for Halloween!

Have an invisible man, woman or dog for Halloween! 
Available in small, medium, and large but takes up no room. Very quiet, shy invisible individuals too, you won't hear a peep out of them. This artist needs to make an honest buck!

Go to Ebay

Or be an disabled person under this current government - invisible surrounded by Tory ghouls and vampires.

Posted by Dolly Sen, 28 October 2014

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 28 October 2014

doggy creativity and the tyranny of humanism in art

I have sent Dolly to human training classes because, boy, does she need them. She is hard to train, that one.

I don’t know if you know, but I am an artist too, primarily a sculptor. You can see some of my work on previous DAO blogs.

I am a bit of a recluse in the art world, and don’t do many interviews or blogs, but I did promise writing something about the doggy creativity and the tyranny of humanism in art.

Every major movement and innovation in art has been stolen from dog artists.

Everyone talks about the palette of Rembrant, but few people know they are the colours of dog food and he stole the idea from his dog.

Likewise, Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile was brought about by a performance dog artist licking her feet. And the Scream came about because a naughty doggie was biting his bollocks.

Mr Warhol stole the Campbell Soup idea from Doggard Woofhol who used dog food cans.

I forayed into the human art world only once, when I painted human bottoms you could sniff. Nobody was interested. They turned their noses up at it instead using their noses to wake and smell humanity.

I could write more but Dolly is back from class. Apparently she has been expelled permanently. I better go and rub her belly.


Posted by Dolly Sen, 25 October 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 27 October 2014

Mad Genius?

Thanks to Colin Hambrook, I was  asked to be part of a panel discussion on the concept of the Mad Genius at the Basement in Brighton on October 8th.

The blurb of the event posted: 'The recent death of Robin Williams has strengthened the associations of creativity and mental illness but is the image of the troubled genius useful, and is there any truth in it? Is the image of the troubled genius an unhelpful, inaccurate cliché, or actually a way of re-evaluating the diversity of mental perspectives embodied by artists and those experiencing challenging or unusual mental conditions?' Marc Steene, Dr Rob Poole, Colin Hambrook and David Woods were the others on the panel.

It was unanimously agreed that the 'mad genius' label is dangerous, and the three reasons that kept coming up was the fetishisation of the mad, the pedestal the person will be put on, and how it still makes the person 'the other'.

I agree with all that but my position remains ambivalent. To me, it is a seductive label and all the arguments against it just pushed me on the swing but not off it. The fetishisation of the mad goes beyond the geniuses.

The 'mad' apparently don't own their minds or their identities. It is an alienating label but maybe some of us want to be alienated, and not assimilated, and we can customise our pedestals with stairlifts and glitter. If I was accepted by society, I would look to see what part of my soul was lacking.

My psychosis can go but the world will still make me mad. Mad genius is a seductive label because what do you put in the gaps on your CV? Being mad means your identity is dragged backward through shit and sunshine. Adding on genius elevates that humiliated identity. 

It was interesting the debate centred around that it wasn't a good label or identity, but I did pose a question no one seemed to answer: what's the alternative, if you dropped 'mad' and didn't fit into 'sane', what the fuck do you do with your mind, life, identity and work pension? 

I am no genius, but I am definitely mad. I pose a question to my readers: what do you call a person who wants to put reality over her knees and smack his naughty arse? 

Until I get an answer, I will continue to screw lightbulbs into the sky. 

Posted by Dolly Sen, 12 October 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 12 October 2014

Are you a copyrighted soul?

By adding some text to a cheap mirror, I want people to question their identity and who owns it? Is it an abusive childhood, is it a system that delegates you to the sidelines because an unexamined but programmed view of disability? Are you scared to look in the mirror because somebody else has defined you as ugly? Why are other people owning your gaze? Who says you are you? Who has written your script? Look into your own eyes and be able to keep the stare. Copyright your own soul. Don't let the bastards own it.

Posted by Dolly Sen, 15 September 2014

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 15 September 2014