Possible All Along, an online exhibition of the work of 13 artists, was launched to mark International Day of Disabled People.
The artists’ work includes photography, painting, sculpture and video, and manages to engage everyone with pieces which are in turn joyful, complex, thought-provoking and reflective.
They have each commented on their work, offering insight into their process and thinking. The impact of the year’s lockdowns has varied amongst the artists, some of whom have had feelings of anxiety and isolation, whereas others have been lucky enough to have discovered more of their own creativity.
Disabled artists are so much a part of our cultural landscape, regularly having their work shown by arts organisations online, where there are no barriers for anyone – and endless possibilities. Disabled artists in particular are afforded wider access and many more connections than are currently available in our physical world of 2020.
After an extraordinary year and in spite of so much damage, we are taking the opportunity which has been available to us all along, and we are now recognising – and appreciating – disabled people as equals, in no area more so than the arts. Barriers are being broken down and obstacles worked around. Art in Leeds is fast becoming more inclusive, more accessible.
Our feature artwork is by Si Denbigh, who had a stroke for years ago He permanently lost the use of the left half of his body “Like someone had drawn a line down from the top of my head.” Having lost his ability to continue as a professional musician, Si had to work out how to be creative again. He says “I discovered Inkwell originally to do ceramics, and then art classes……..I used to do a lot of detailed fineline ink work. This (a series of oil pastels and crystal water colour, one of which is our feature photograph) was a venture into experimenting with colour and movement, and getting messy. Based on a healthy obsession with crows, it’s called Corvid 19.”
Sarah Francis: “I am fascinated by the duality of identity. My art gathers and relocates particular events that were once lost, forgotten or left behind. I explore dyslexia, ADHD and queer identity in relation to my creative output and creative self. I build my own language and worlds to explore and understand ‘how I made me’.”
alabamathirteen: “I am a largely self-taught, working-class, disabled artist based in Leeds. I work mainly with photography, embroidery and sound recordings. My work is focused around bodies, spaces and places, both public and private, and how we experience and occupy them both as individuals and as a society. I specifically draw on my own personal limitations navigating and negotiating the spaces and places I occupy as a disabled woman.”
There are more artists to discover and art to enjoy on the Possible All Along website.
There must be many disabled artists in Leeds who have not yet been recognised. Possible All Along Curator Gill Crawshaw would love to learn about them and their work, so please get in touch if you know an artist as yet undiscovered – or if you are that artist! https://possibleallalong.co.uk/