Takes on Acrobatics

“It takes an acrobat to operate in a world that is not set up to accommodate our particular (dis)abilities.”
– Persimmon Blackbridge

Takes on Acrobatics, includes artistic responses to the sculpture exhibition Acrobatics by Persimmon Blackbridge. In the exhibition, Blackbridge constructs sculptures depicting her life with a disability as being a form of acrobatics. Through mixed media, painting, and performance, 8 artists respond to the Acrobatics exhibition by drawing on individual experiences of being hard of hearing, living with disabilities, chronic pain, mental illness and supporting family members with disabilities. Artists were selected through a call for submissions by Tangled Art + Disability, a Toronto based arts organization supporting professional artists develop and present disability arts work around Ontario.

Kerri Whitehurst
Isolation, 2009
Silicon, fabrics, black marker

Being Hard of Hearing, we miss the auditory part of conversations, so in turn we ask for clarification about what is being said, only to be pushed into void of isolation. Words hurt more than people think; it leaves an imprint on us and damages our self-worth.

Erin Ball
Flying Footless: Cosmic Love, 2016
Aerial fabric performance

Jayal Chung
Broken Wing, 2016
Watercolours, ink, tape, transparency paper

My mother had a work place injury – the impact of her injury, the pain and sitting with her and the process of her healing affected our family in profound ways. It was her right arm that was affected, but this meant she would learn to use her left arm and worry about further strain. The experience brought my family closer, and to fight for each other to know how we love each other. My mother’s sense of self and independence was shaken and things that she would do for us and for herself became very difficult, heavy, or impossible. Despite this, I learned so much how important it became just to be present with her and find ways with her to do things in a different way.

Marriah-Lee Belcher
Manic Cormorant, 2016
Drift wood, found items

Inspired by balance.

Martin King
The Acrobat, 2016
Acrylic paints, clear tape, magazine cut outs

I went to see Persimmon Blackbridge art exhibit about disable acrobats on May 10th 2016. My response to this is this canvas painting, which I intentional broke & fixed up with tape. I believe this broken painting could still be seen as art, and not just garbage. Following the disable acrobat theme, I took one of my National Geographic Magazines, cut up certain pictures and taped it on to the painting. I made sure the images I cut up reflected the acrobat’s strong will to live. But the legs of the acrobat is a picture of 2 broken baseball bats, this identify the acrobat as a disable person. To top it all off I painted it over an old painting I made that no one really cared about.

Michel Dumont
The Invisible Disabled Man: Pain Chart, 2016
Packing tape, cellophane, mylar

This piece represents the invisible disability. Like chronic pain. The standard model for doctors is to ask patients to describe where their pain is. This is a three dimensional depiction of a person’s pain chart. The red lines of mylar highlights the network of nerves that radiate pain.

Susan Lamberd
Access, 2016
Felt, rice paper, ink, steel, plastic

With “Access”, I hope to convey to the audience a feeling of tenacity and determination. Having a physical disability or a mental illness is difficult and requires certain acrobatics – just trying to weave through the medical system is enough to make you fall. Here, beautiful bodies in Adonis-like poses are drawn in graphite on paper while a 3-D sculpture, a leg, stands on the floor trying to gain access to the world depicted on paper, known only to the able-bodied. The viewer is left to wonder why or if the person trying to gain access ever will, even if it’s possible.

Alana Forslund
Mess, 2016
Hand-knit mohair, silk