With house, a short, white woman wearing bright orange work trousers, a grey jumper, orange and grey baseball cap and sunglasses stands tilted to the side held up by silver and grey crutches held in her hands. She stands on a pebble beach without houses, people and a seagull in the background. Claire Cunningham in Beyond the Breakwater Image by Paul Blakemore courtesy of Situations

Claire Cunningham

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland.  A recent Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany she is also an Affiliate Artist with The Place, London.

One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies).  This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.  A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show ME (Mobile/Evolution) (2009), to the large ensemble work  12  made for Candoco Dance Company.   

Art form
Sculpture
Music
Installation
Performance Art
Theatre
Dance
Spoken Word

Community
Disabled

Location
Scotland, UK

Elizabeth has placed a large piece of thick bright yellow felt over her head. It drapes over her like a hooded cloak, falling over her body down to her fingertips. The form becomes it’s own shape, like a soft rounded bright yellow sculpture. You can’t see her face because there is a dark void where her face is hidden from the light.

Elizabeth Sweeney

Elizabeth Sweeney is a visual artist, arts researcher and curator. She is also a neurodivergent queer of Acadian settler decent, who grew up in rural Nova Scotia. She has a BFA in Studio Art from Concordia University (2001), a B.Ed from the University Of Ottawa (2005) and an MA in Critical Disability Studies from York University (2012), where she focused on disability art and contemporary curatorial practice. She has worked at The National Gallery of Canada, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and currently works at The Canada Council for the Arts. Elizabeth frequently presents and guest lectures on the topic of art criticism, activist museum praxis and contemporary disability arts. She is also a founding core member of the Black Triangle Arts Collective. In 2019, Elizabeth was awarded a multi-year Chalmers Art Fellowship for her project Premise/Shift. This project is rooted in pushing the boundaries of how visual arts can be produced, by questioning who it is created for, and expanding personal artistic practice beyond what is known or expected; This transformation is grounded in a Deaf and disability arts discourse, activism and a commitment to access(Premiseshift.net).

During 2021 Elizabeth lives between the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation (Ottawa, ON) and the Acadia First Nation in Mi’kma’ki (Mavilette, NS)

Recent work
www.elizabethsweeney.ca
www.premiseshift.net

Press

Art form
Visual Arts
Textiles
Sculpture
Installation
Performance Arts
Film

Community
Disabled
Neurodiverse
Fat
LGBTQ2SIA+
Queer
Feminist

Website
www.premiseshift.net/

Location
Ottawa,ON/ Mavilette,NS

Jeff thomas

Tribal affiliation: Onondaga of the Six Nations of the Grand River Year

Jeff Thomas (b. 1956, Buffalo, New York) is an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based story teller, writer, pubic speaker, and curator, living in Ottawa, Ontario, and has works in major collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Jeff’s most recent solo shows were Birdman Rising, University of Southern Illinois, A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, Art Gallery of Mississauga, The Dancing Grounds, Wanuskewin Heritage Park (Saskatoon), , and Resistance Is NOT Futile, Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto). Thomas has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989, Art Gallery of Ontario, Land/Slide: Possible Futures, Markham, Ontario, SAKAHÀN, National Gallery of Canada, UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France. In 1998, he was awarded the Canada Council’s Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, Royal Canadian Academy of Art (2008), The Karsh Award in photography (2008), the REVAL Indigenous Art Award (2017), and the Canada Council Governor General Award in the Visual and Digital Arts (2019).

Art form
Visual Arts
Photography
Independent Curator

Community
Indigenous
Disabled

Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

REAR is a large painting on the cotton backs of found Art History reproductions. A disabled female nude on her stomach with a leg prosthetic is pictured lying down on a blue- checkered bed on a carpet. Part of her bedding and bodice is shown in white around her head and upper body. There is a nightstand next to the bed with jewelry and an elegant ceramic jar on it.

katherine sherwood

Katherine Sherwood’s acclaimed mixed-media paintings gracefully investigate the point at which the essential aspects of art, medicine, and disability intersect. Her works juxtapose abstracted medical images, such as cerebral angiograms of the artist’s brain, with fluid renderings of ancient patterns; the paintings thus explore and reveal, with a most unusual palette, the strange nature of our time and current visual culture.
 
Sherwood’s work was exhibited in the 2000 Whitney Museum Biennial and at Yerba Buena Art Center in 2003 and 2009. Sherwood has had solo exhibitions recently at Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, Hemphill Gallery in Washington DC and Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. The interdisciplinary relevance of her work has led to her participation in “Visionary Anatomies” at the National Academy of Science in Washington DC, “Inside Out Loud: Visualizing Women’s Health in Contemporary Art” at the Kemper Museum in St. Louis and “Human Being” at the Chicago Cultural Center. Katherine had a solo exhibition in 2007 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC entitled “Golgi’s Door”. She co-curated the exhibition “Blind at the Museum” at the Berkeley Art Museum, and organized an accompanying conference at UC Berkeley. Sherwood was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship 2005-2006 and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant 2006-2007. Her work was included in the Smithsonian Museum’s “Revealing Culture” and at a solo shows at Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco. She currently shows at George Adams Gallery in New York, NY, Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Anglim Trimble in San Francisco, CA.

Recent work

Press

Art form
Painting

Community
Disabled
Queer

Location
The Bay Area, California

 
A portrait of the artist, a brown-skinned woman with curly dark hair, wearing all black with a red and gold necklace. She is underneath the Spatial Sound Studio in Budapest, Hungary framed by neon blue and white lights, fog, and wooden pillars. There are transducers underneath the pillars, an important consideration in developing the vibrational experience of The Cost of Entry is a Heartbeat, an invitation for collective rest using heartbeat data and thermal bath sounds developed in Budapest. Photo credit: Bence Mladin SSI

salima punjani

Salima Punjani is an Access Activator, M.S.W. and Multisensory Artist based in Montreal, Canada. She is particularly interested in how biological data can be transformed to create artful experiences of empathy and connection. Her recent projects include The Cost of Entry is a Heartbeat, a collective rest experience using heartbeat data and sounds recorded in Budapest’s thermal baths. Progression, a real-time immersive multisensory installation that explores the narratives of people living with multiple sclerosis fused with brainwaves and MRI scans. Konbit Anba Soley, an interactive documentary about a social movement in Cité Soleil, Haiti as well as Moms of Montreal, a multicultural photographic storytelling project offering an intimate view into the recipes and stories of families in Montreal. She recently completed a Master’s in Social Work from McGill University in Montreal with a specific focus on the intersection between the arts and care work and is a trained Access Activator.

Recent work

She is currently focusing on developing a methodology for tactile photography and applying an access lens to spatial sound technology. She has an upcoming exhibition in 2021 at Ada X in Montreal.
 

 

Art form
Photography
Sound Art
Installation
Theatre
Vibrotactile/Multisensory Art

 

Community
Deaf
Disabled
Mad
Blind or Low Vision
Queer
Feminist
Neurodiverse
Black
POC

Location
Montreal, Quebec

A portrait of an elderly white man who is a burn survivor. He has gray hair and a black coat and is pictured against a white background. He has white hair. We are uncertain if his eyes are open or closed.

Todd herman

Todd Edward Herman’s films and photographs deal with themes of the body and transience, representational taboos and spectatorship, difference and the historic consequences of othering. His work has generated collaborations with artists on books, films, performances and exhibitions around the world. Todd has been the recipient of many awards for his work including the San Francisco International Film Festival’s New Vision Award, the Art Council of Northern Ireland’s Artist in Residence Award, Grants from the San Francisco Film Arts Foundation, a Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship, and the San Francisco Art Commission’s Emerging Curator Award. Todd is a long time collaborator with Sins Invalid — a performance project that incubates, celebrates and centralizes artists with disabilities, artists of color, queer and gender-variant artists. He has presented his work at such venues as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, San Francisco International Film Festival, Southbank Centre, Anthology Film Archives, San Francisco Cinematheque, and Pacific Film Archives. Todd is also the founder of East Window Gallery – www.eastwindow.org

“At their best artists can question habits of understanding, looking, and story telling, thereby investigating the ways personal and historical forms are constructed rather than fixed. For me, this means generating work that examines how images compose, enforce, or undermine — rather than simply reflect — history, dominant values, identity, and authorship.”

–T.E.H.

Recent work
Shame Radient
A collective photography project exploring more of the personhood and less of the pathology of shame. Excerpts from this project will be exhibited in Red Line Gallery in Denver, Colorado in March 2021

Art form
Visual Arts
Photography
Film
Social Practice

Community
Disabled
Queer
Survivor

A ceramic, handmade spine hanging from the ceiling, with yarn and crotched in red, pink, and purple knotted and bursting out from the lower spine. There is a prominent shadow behind the spine because of the theatrical, dramatic lighting.

Carly Riegger

Carly Riegger is a chronically ill female from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She took a strong interest in ceramics in high school. She is currently working on a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Ceramics at Indiana University Southeast. In the Spring of 2020, she received a BFA in Studio Art, with a specialization in Ceramics at Bowling Green State University. Her senior year she received the James W. Strong Outstanding Senior Award and the James W. Strong Studio Achievement Award for her service and participation in BGSU’s School of Art. She additionally participated in BGSU’s Clay Club and BGSU’s D.R.E.A.M. Club which stands for Disability Rights, Education, Advocacy, and Mentoring. She worked in panels explaining and teaching others about disability, and even explaining her own pain in discussions around the campus. In her final BFA Thesis Exhibition, she depicted her own chronic pain in small scenes using her ceramic dolls. She is dedicated to continuing her work advocating for those with disabilities as she moves forward in her ceramic art.
 

Art form
Visual Arts
Sculpture
Textiles
Installation
Writing

Community
Disabled
Feminist

Location
Michigan, USA

Kaleigh smiles against a white backdrop. She is white, has long blonde hair, and is wearing silver earrings.
Kaleigh smiles against a white backdrop. She is white, has long blonde hair, and is wearing silver earrings.

Kaleigh Trace

Kaleigh Trace is a disabled, white femme who talks a lot. For many years Kaleigh travelled North America talking about sex. She led sex education workshops exploring the intersections of disability, desirability, pain and pleasure. Through these speaking engagements Kaleigh aimed to interrupt shameful stories about sexuality. She wrote a book to that effect titled Hot, Wet & Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex. It won the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award in 2015. These days Kaleigh works as therapist. Here, she again explores the impact of shame and the intersections of desire, pleasure and pain. She still talks a lot.

Community
Disabled
Queer
Feminist

Art form
Writing

Location
Toronto, Canada

A photo of Tony Heaton
A photo of Tony Heaton in front of his sculpture, 'Monument to the unintended performer' on the BIG 4 at the entrance of Channel 4 TV Centre at the launch of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

tony heaton

I am concerned with my own existence and my interaction with both the material and non-material world.
In my interaction with other humans I am almost always reminded that I am perceived as a disabled person, this in manifest in their actions towards me and their interaction with me.
Much of my work explores my personal analysis of these everyday interactions. Sometimes art making becomes self-psychoanalysis.

My materials are often the impedimenta of disability. I have also worked with light, neon and film.

My work has also utilised found materials and objects that have had a particular identity and could be transmuted as part of the realisation of the idea. As a disabled person, many of the objects I have used or ideas I have pursued have been within a disability context and have resonated with my experience as a disabled person, both individually and in my interaction with the world.

There are usually layers of meaning to entice other humans into the work or the game of it.
Disabled people often seem invisible or ‘other’ and I have explored this notion.

Predominantly I am interested in how thoughts and ideas can be translated into form and therefore say something in a new and expressive way.

I return to themes, usually when I review older works or ideas that were never fully resolved at the time. I am reminded of Henry Moore’s comment about walking along the same stretch of beach but finding new and interesting stones that had been there, unnoticed,
Or, like re-reading a book when you discover things that you had missed the first time, perhaps due to life and experience.

I sometimes build on these past works or forgotten ideas.

As a sculptor I work with a wide range of materials depending on what material is right to develop the idea. I constantly return to direct carving of stone as a discipline but I often use what has been called ‘the impedimenta of disability’ in my work. This might be charity collecting cans, old wheelchairs or invalid carriages, my intention being to transmute or subvert them into something else through sculpture.

The Curator Simon Boase wrote…
Heaton’s work is both confrontational and playful, combining familiar images with edits or adaptations which prompt us to consider pieces’ less visible themes.
The notion of loops and cycles is key within Heaton’s practice; ideas are continuously connected across different works and years, while at the same time this cyclical viewpoint puts linear continuity into question.

The writer and critic Allan Sutherland wrote…
’Heaton’s early sculptures often use what I once described in Disability Arts in London magazine as ‘the everyday impedimenta of disability: collecting cans, NHS wheelchairs, X-rays, Part M of the Building Regulations’. But his work contradicts the normal associations of such materials by turning them into profound and joyously witty statements about the nature of our oppression’.

Art form
Visual Arts
Sculpture
Installation
Performance Arts

Community
Disabled

Location
UK

Photo of Claire Cunningham.
Claire Cunningham, a short, white woman wearing bright orange work trousers, a grey jumper, orange and grey baseball cap and sunglasses stands tilted to the side held up by silver and grey crutches held in her hands. She stands on a pebble beach without houses, people and a seagull in the background. Photo by Paul Blakemore.

Claire Cunningham

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland and a current Work Place Artist with The Place, London and until recently, a Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany.

One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies).  This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.  A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show ME (Mobile/Evolution) (2009), to the large ensemble work  12  made for Candoco Dance Company.   

Art form
Sculpture
Music
Performance Art
Spoken Word
Theatre
Dance

Community
Disabled

Exhibitions
Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance [Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University]

Location
Scotland, U.K.