Our gallery supervisor Susan has started the year on a positive note with some work in the Shape Open exhibition in London.
“I’m pleased to have been selected for the 2017 Shape Arts Open with my piece, United We Stand.
Based in London, Shape Arts is a disability led arts organisation working to provide opportunities and support for disabled artists, as well as disabled individuals wanting to work in the arts and cultural sector. I’ve been selected to show work twice before with Shape, exhibiting a sculptural piece, Love for Shape In The City in 2013 and have had some of my environmental work on paper sold through their gallery in Stratford.
For the last few years I have been working primarily two dimensionally, developing a drawing practice using weather and the environment. However, the work for Shape re-engages with the sculptural/textile based work I developed at University.
The work itself has been challenging to develop. I was diagnosed as autistic in my 40’s, a diagnosis that I found very difficult to assimilate into my sense of self. After 40 plus years of thinking about myself in one way, I found that I was now having to explore my sense of self as a ‘disabled’ person. This is an inner journey that many people go through, perhaps discovering they have a previously undiagnosed condition, perhaps experiencing what it is to live in an altered body after an accident or illness, perhaps trying to work out how to live with an altered mind because of a mental health issue. Disability is not only something that people are born with and I’m sure that it is challenging for many newly disabled people to come to terms with this new self, whether they call it disabled or not.
Working at BOM has been an inspiring experience that has re-invigorated my practice. The majority of my time at BOM is spent in the gallery invigilating exhibitions, but I also have opportunities to talk to the BOM Fellows and to see some of their work in development, which is very invigorating and has motivated me to keep going with my own practice.”