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“ArtAbility” it’s moving Worldwide but it’s Different 


Come with me and see how platforms for artist with disabilities are emerging worldwide


By David W Bedwell ACAA


My visit to the Tweed River Art Gallery and the inspirational “Kelly Speaking” Exhibition of Anthony Joy’s award winning work gave me the much needed kick start to my latest Trilogy of Articles, and has led me on a journey that moved from New South Wales to Melbourne in Victoria Australia for the “ArtAbility Exhibition in Federation Square. For this final article of the trilogy follow me London for the “Heart and Sold” Launch, to Singapore for the “Paintability” Exhibition, and then to America for the “Infinite Earth” Exhibition, and meet some inspirational artists on the way, and a very famous young man?  Ready?


Do you remember 43 year old Kelly whose poignant original words Anthony Joy transposed she is a lady diagnosed with Down syndrome living in Australia? There is another  lady  diagnosed with Down syndrome living in England she is also 43 years old she is Tazia Fawley who’s colourful painting titled “Rupert Flies Over The Bristol Suspension Bridge…the Bristol Balloon Festival” features one of childrens favourite characters Rupert Bear now hangs in the nursery of Prince George in St. James’s Palace London. Tazia gets her colour inspirations from playing music while she is working, and painting.


Tazia is one of a group of artists with disabilities who have been encouraged and helped by exhibiting their work by the not for profit organisation Heart and Sold which supports artists diagnosed with Down syndrome. They have a major exhibition planned for March next year at the famous Menier Gallery in Southwark London SE 1 it is called “Heart and Sold the Launch” lets hope they have a royal visitor.


We are journeying to Singapore now to meet another lady who paints with music playing she is Chelsea Fairclough an amazing quadriplegic artist who has established the Paintability Exhibition concept to showcase her uniquely created work. There are 60 amazing paintings contained within her first public solo exhibition. The  paintings are created by Chelsea using the wheels of her mobility scooter, she selects her colours to reflect her mood puts on some of her favourite music and dances with the wheels to create her colours and images that collectively create her  inspirational “Wheelie Art Works” Chelsea  studies at  the American School in Singapore.


What started out as an Australian trilogy has now spread to three corners of the world Asia Oceana and Europe so let’s not stop at that?  What about America and their exhibitions? Yes exhibitions of works by artists with disabilities are happening there too.


The Smithson Institute in Washington DC will feature an Exhibition of works by a group of emerging artists with disabilities from across the states with ages ranging from 16 to 25 years old. Entries have been invited for submission and the selected works for the exhibition to be named “In/Finite Earth” will be held for three months at the S. Dillon Ripley Centre before travelling to other museums and art galleries throughout America.


It is so pleasing to discover that the theme of ArtAbility is developing worldwide so if your interest has held to the end of my trilogy why not search for more artists with disabilities platforms being created try to find examples in say Africa or China or Russia or Arabia it should be an amazing journey!!


David W Bedwell is an Access Consultant in Australia and a director of OBVIUS ACCESS for more articles by him and the other earlier two in his “ArtAbility®” trilogy see www.accessconsultant.com.au 

My thanks are due to ADEC (Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc) for their consent to enable me to use “ArtAbility®” as a part title for my trilogy of articles, for more information on ADEC see www.artability.org.au

To Tweed River Art Gallery for the amazing location to start my journey from see http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/artgallery

To Anthony Joy for “Kelly Speaking” see http://www.aarts.net.au/northcoast/regional-artist-gives-a-voice-to-the-unheard/ To Chelsea Fairclough for “PaintAbility  see  http://paintability.org/about/the-artist/ To Tazia Fawley and “Heart and Sold” see http://www.heartandsold.org.uk/artists/tazia-fawley

To Disabled World for publishing the first and second of my “ArtAbility®” Articles see http://www.disabled-world.com/communication/art/artability.php http://www.disabled-world.com/communication/art/unheard.php


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