Art can change the way you think and the way you see things. It can make you take pause, to wonder about something in this world that you didn’t before, which is why it’s great when art tackles disability.
Whether it’s showing a different way to view “failing” by using an iconic piece of medical equipment to showing how we as people with disabilities thrive in spite of our disabilities, an art installment has the power to help the world see the truth behind disability.
For a look at some of the best art exhibits on disability, check out three of our favorites below.
Video #1: Superman’s Wheelchair at FAIL BETTER at Science Gallery
There’s nothing more poignant than seeing an empty wheelchair of its previous owner. The symbolism it carries is palatable, and heart-wrenching, which is my Mark Pollock from Ireland, a paraplegic and artist, decided to use Christopher Reeve’s old wheelchair for his art installation “Superman’s Wheelchair.”
The message of the exhibit is to talk about Christopher passionate fight to find a cure for paralysis and his failed attempt to do so, but it’s not intended to be negative. It’s meant to show that it was still worth the fight, as the alternative – still being paralyzed – isn’t much better. And he encompasses this message two words, “Fail better.”
Video #2: Old Persons’ Home Wheelchair Installation at Saatchi Gallery
For what is by far one of the weirdest wheelchair art exhibits you’ll ever see, check out this fascinating art exhibit that appeared at the Saatchi Gallery in London back in 2010 titled “Old Persons’ Home.” This art exhibit features several old, once powerful men in powerchairs aimlessly rolling around room a stark white room.
While this art exhibit may not be most positive disability message that could’ve been sent through an art exhibit – hey look these ones powerful guys who are now deemed less powerful because of their wheelchair – it’s meant to be satirical, and it is quite interesting to see so many wheelchairs in one singular exhibit.
Video #3: Wheelchair Roll Cage from the Dandelion Dance Theater
Located in San Francisco, California, the Dandelion Dance Theatre has no fear when it comes to experimenting with disabled performers, which is clear as day after you watch this video featuring one of their performers who uses a wheelchair and the roll cage that he made.
Yes that’s right, he created a roll cage for his manual wheelchair, which he rolls around on onstage with able-bodied performers, who either cling to the roll cage itself as it’s in motion, or do some kind of funky maneuvering stunt on it; and not surprisingly the end product is pure awesome.
I think the message is quite simple: Don’t be afraid of what’s possible in the realm of artistic expression and the seemingly uninspiring wheelchair. It can convey so much and so many emotions, making it the perfect symbol to include. I would love to see more people with disabilities creating art for this very purpose.
What message would you share if you created a disability art installation?
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