Project #1: Invisible:VisAble


Approximate Start and End Dates:  April 2015
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

The project Invisible:VisAble is a group art exhibition I am curating that will feature artists from the U.S., Canada and South Africa who live with an invisible disability. The world cannot easily see it but it challenges them each and every day. This exhibit invites them to revel in this challenge and to show how it informs their work, obviously or in a more conceptual way.

Invisible:VisAble will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at Mason Fine Art Gallery in April, 2015. In this exhibition we will encourage more understanding of what it means to live with disability, especially one not readily obvious on the exterior. We want the artists to create conversation, engage the public and increase awareness through the exhibition and through community outreach programming, artist talks, lectures and informational panels.

Many people live with a disability that impacts their everyday lives. A “hidden” or “invisible” disability is defined as a serious, on-going, medical or mental health challenge that impedes a completely normal existence but does not usually “show” on the outside. My own deafness -- the most challenging of my medical issues and something I have pretended didn’t exist for most of my life -- began insinuating itself into my creative art practice a few years ago. I saw it in art works I kept secret in the studio. I didn’t show them. Then I began to ask myself “why not?” I had a conversation with a friend whose diabetes leads her to create artworks that incorporate her test strips and needles, then another with an artist whose intricate imagery clearly speaks of seizure-affected brain “wiring”. Exhibitions showing this work are rare and it became a personal imperative to create a space for this conversation.  We know that artists incorporate and heal via the work they make. But do we know how many?

All of the 11 artists in this exhibition lead what can be perceived as fully “normal” lives: as educators, professional artists, mothers, and business people. Every day we privately contend with needles, drugs, treatments, hospitalizations, erroneous assumptions, misperceptions and more, because we ‘pass’ as normal. The artists in this exhibition have Diabetes, Deafness, Hepatitis C, Epilepsy, Funnel Chest, Bulimia, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Spasmodic Torticollis, Post-cancer, Bipolar Disorder and other. Through a variety of techniques and mediums such as drawing on paper, thread on plastic, diabetes test strips on canvas, yarn and weaving, metal, ceramic, installation and more we make works and make public our feelings.

These funds will help defer shipping costs for artwork and go toward a small catalogue dedicated to providing information on each disease, photos of the artists and their works, artist statements, and an overview of the exhibition, in addition to development of outreach events: artist talks, panel discussions, supplies for art-making activities with school and community groups. Travel for artists from out of town.

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