Things are moving apace in a groups of students organising our own exhibition. I have one room and plan to show the following three series of images. The arrangements for the exhibition are still open and I have reviewed the images I want to present and these are shown below along with the artist’s and series statements.
My short statement
Pete offers a visual commentary of his experience as a disabled person through three distinct yet interconnected series. Paralysis displays aspects to do with managing his impairment while The Landscape of Disability explores the impact social factors have on his ability to move through the landscape. Lastly Ramps, provides a commentary on the impact of the landscape on social relationships.
Detailed artist’s statement
All of the photographs I have presented in this exhibition offer visual commentaries in regard of my experience as a disabled person. This distinguishes between the two aspects below.
- Impairment: lacking part or all of a limb, or having a defective limb, organ or mechanism of the body.
- Disability: the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a contemporary social organisation which takes little or no account of people who have physical impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities.
(The Union of The Physically Impaired Against Segregation, 1975)
The implication of interpreting my experience in this way is not to see all the limitations I experience as caused by me. Moreover the process of exploration, formulation, production, exhibition and engagement of these issues photographically feeds a need for me to express things I find hard to share in other ways and allows me to engage with others about the subject that often leads to new insights and meanings. In that way I feel my work is therapeutic as well as political.
Exhibition images and series statements
Series 1 title: Paralysis
Series statement: This series of images display aspects of living with the implications of spinal cord injury. All the images relate to issues Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation, 1943) referred to as hygiene factors within his hierarchy of needs classification – that is they relate to my managing my survival rather than relating to any superior quality of life issues.
The different colour coding marks those definite images along with four additional photos I will take along just in case the space requires them.
Series 2 title: The Landscape of Disability
Series statement: My impairment – spinal cord injury – means that I can’t walk. But we’ve invented lots of devices to enable me to get around such as wheelchairs, but for access to work my needs have to be recognised and not ignored. This set of images talk to that subject in terms of the physical landscape that are the result of decisions of social administration, organisation or people’s attitudes.
Series 3 title: Ramps!
Series statement: We all have places we feel uncomfortable in. The external physical environment is a hostile place for me. I am always looking for wheelchair access and the avoidance of things like dog shit and broken glass when moving around and this often means that I am not concentrating on who I am with or what they are saying, so it affects social relations as well as how I feel.
The Paralysis images will be 16inch photos – probably without boarders because of the space. (If space was limitless I would use 4 inch boarders on them to evoke some compression). The Series 3 Landscape of Disability will be A3 and Series 3 Ramps! A1). Currently, I envisage mounting them on fibreboard.
One interesting feature is that one of the other students Keith Greenough (link) is planning to show a set of portraits on Ironman and women who compete in Triathlons – so quite a contrast!