Saturday, 2 February 2008

Exhibition of "Aesthetic and Disability" in Cape Town

There is an exhibition taking place in Cape Town (Civic Centre) called "Aesthetic and Disability" from 2nd to 29th February.

In a bid to change the way society looks at disabled people and to celebrate their beauty, the City of Cape Town is to launch a photo exhibition featuring French models with various forms of disability.
Now, while I applaud any effort to raise awareness around Disability, there is a potential aspect of this exhibition which I fear could become similar to the old, horrible, circus activity of inviting people to come and look at "the Freak Show" (bearded ladies, small people, etc.). But possibly I am guilty of pre-judging this, and it would seem that the photographers themselves are disabled, and so that may indicate that this issue will be addressed. I don't know, but I will be going to have a look myself.

The bit that did get my blood pressure to rise though, was a comment made by one of the photographers; I can only assume that he believed what the politicians were telling him... Deza Nguembock said, "I am thrilled that the world premiere is taking place in Africa, where people with disabilities are not set apart, but form an integral part of society." WHAT???! Maybe we have had different experiences, or maybe he needs to appease the politicians who are providing the sponsorship of this exhibition. But I would defy any person with a disability to not feel set apart, or to be able to form an integral part of society in Cape Town. The reality is the complete reverse to Mr Nguembock's statement.

If you are in Cape Town during this period, then please pay this exhibition a visit, and send me your view. I shall be going, and will put my feelings down here afterwards.

I suppose art is meant to stimulate, and it does not have to be comfortable...

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