Conversations with Strange Beauty: Eliza Chandler

This week is bustling with energy at 401 Richmond St. W., installing for the 2015 Tangled Arts Festival: Strange Beauty. Tangled’s Communications Coordinator Lindsay Fisher takes this opportunity to get to know the artists and document conversations about disability art. This afternoon, Lindsay finds Artistic Director Eliza Chandler in the 401 lobby where one of the artists, jes sachse is installing their work and asks a few questions…

Thank you Eliza, for taking the time to answer a few questions!

Thank you!

Artistic Director Eliza Chandler and Strange Beauty artist jes sachse having a conversation beside a banner that says Strange BeautyI’m wondering if you can tell us what Strange Beauty is – for anyone out there who might not yet have heard about it.

Strange Beauty is the name of Tangled’s 2015 Festival. It’s a collection of 10 exhibitions and performances ranging from sculpture, to video, to photography, to drawing and painting, to installation, and performance art. All of these exhibits and performances will fill the 401 Richmond Arts building throughout the month of April. At Tangled, we have been so excited about the vibrancy and high caliber of Disability and Deaf art that we have seen developing in Toronto and across Canada. We know that now is the time to fill the heart of the arts scene in Toronto and what better place to fill than the 401 Richmond Building, which is revered as being a hub of contemporary art. This building is also one of the only accessible art centres in Toronto. The festival opens tomorrow night at 6PM at the Urbanspace Gallery in the 401 Richmond Building, there are artist talks throughout the month of April, and the festival closes on April 25 with a performance by The Mighty Rhino at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. at 8PM.

I know that Peter Caldwell, the CEO of OAC will be here speaking at the opening tomorrow. What will he be talking about?

You’ll have to come find out! Haha! The OAC has been doing a tremendous amount of work thinking through how to best support Deaf and Disability-identified artists and Deaf and Disability arts. The officers at the OAC has been consulting with Tangled throughout the year, as well as artists, about what supports we need and how to best cultivate our practices. They have been amazingly receptive to our feedback. Peter Caldwell will be speaking about the OAC’s new strategic plan for Deaf and Disability Arts at the opening of our festival.

What is disability art and why do you think it’s important?

From what I have seen since working at Tangled, Deaf and Disability Arts in Canada is outstanding, pushing Canadian Arts and Culture in exciting new directions. I really feel that we are on the precipice of something huge. I personally think that disability arts is a key part to enacting disability justice for the ways that it allows us to represent ourselves, our communities, and our politics on our own terms. That the Deaf and Disability arts movement is becoming more and more disability-led is really a step in the right direction.

And just for a little fun – if you had to choose between two straws – would you choose straight or bendy?

Of course I would choose bendy!

Click here for our Strange Beauty page