constructed identities: persimmon blackbridge

Constructed Identities, a major show of new work by Persimmon Blackbridge, uses mixed media wood carving with found objects to question how disability is framed as a fracturing of ordinary life rather than a normal, expected part of it. Her exploration of the figure begins in disability, but necessarily complicates itself as our embodied identities intersect and overlap.

This short documentary captures both the 2019 exhibition at McMaster University and an interview with the artist in her home studio on Hornby Island, British Columbia.

Constructed Identities was the opening exhibition of Tangled Art Gallery in 2015 and has been touring multiple Ontario cities since, most recently at the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa. Tangled is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for artists with disabilities and boldly redefining how the world experiences art and those who create it.

Blackbridge has worked as a sculptor, writer, curator, performer, fiction editor, cleaning lady and a very bad waitress. In this fully accessible exhibition, she uses hand-crafted wood figures, metal and found objects to confront and complicate notions of disability.

Blackbridge has been awarded the Ferro-Grumley Fiction Prize, the VanCity Book Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the VIVA award for visual arts and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design Distinguished Alumni Award. Her art has been shown across Canada and the U.S., as well as in Australia, Europe, and Hong Kong. She lives on Hornby Island in British Columbia.

This video was filmed by Dale DeVost and Marion Gruner, edited by Marion Gruner of Billion Ideas and produced by Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, a project of Re•Vision: The Centre for Art & Social Justice.