Disabilities and the Arts


This weekend, there were a couple of interesting articles on representations of disability in the arts on CBC. In the first piece, writer Stephanie vanKampen looks at a couple of recent productions on stage and screen that tackled the topic of disability: Stella Meghie’s film Everything, Everything and Chris Abraham’s play The Boy in the Moon. Yet while both works address disability, the results are problematic as disability is either used (and then left aside) as a plot device, or is hidden and covered up. These problems can appear when people with disabilities aren’t given the opportunity to represent themselves. Check out this article for more information.

In contrast, Paul Hunter and Marie Claudet take a look at Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s mixed media installation Infinity Mirrors, which is currently wrapping up an exhibition at the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington D.C. and will be coming to the AGO in Toronto next year. Kusama has been living with mental illness for decades, and has been risiding in a psychiatric hospital since the 1970s. She uses art to represent her mental illness and the way she sees the world, calling her stunning, visually dazzling installations “translated hallucinations.” Instead of the cultural appropriation displayed in the works discussed by vanKampen, Kusama’s original and beautiful art is an authentic, powerful, and innovative representation of disability. Check out this article for more information and some pictures of Kusama’s work

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