Get Well Soon, 2023
- Embroidery and plastic beads on dyed cotton canvas with wooden dowels and cotton twine
In my artistic practice I am exploring cultural narratives around disability and illness, as well as the overlap between these narratives and the lived experience of people with disabilities. I am specifically focusing on the relationship between disability or illness and the bed, and the ways that it can be both a safe haven and feel restrictive and imprisoning. Fatigue, and a complicated relationship with rest, which is both a necessity and sometimes an unattainable luxury, are something many people with disabilities and chronic illnesses experience. These experiences are often misunderstood by people who have never experienced disability or long term health issues.
I have researched disability theory, and the importance of representation within media, as well as the effects these representations can have on wider cultural and social attitudes. Some of the writers I have been looking at include Amanda Leduc, who explores disability within fairytales, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarshina, who speaks about inter-community care and intersectional disability spaces.
I am interested in the surrealist movement, and the way that many surrealist artists tell stories within their art, like Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington, as well as the ways that their work connects to their experiences of disability.
The traditions of textile art, as well as other specialties that have been historically considered ‘feminine’ crafts, and their importance in storytelling, creative expression, and record keeping for women, enslaved people, and other marginalised groups, are integral to my practice. The appreciation and continuation of these crafts, as well as the understanding of their historical significance, is very important to me. The quilters of Gees Bend, Louise Bourgeois, and Sally Hewett are some of the textile artist that I have been looking at, as well as historical examples with anonymous creators like the Bayeux tapestry.
By combining these elements, I hope to create work that is accessible to both disabled people and non-disabled people, and conveys a narrative that is relatable to people with a wide range of experiences.