Paintings and Paralympics

So the Paralympics have come to London town – hurrah! Yesterday I went to see the swimming which I found really moving. In a way that doesn’t happen at the Olympic games, these athletes are defiant in the face of so much adversity, and it’s really inspiring. I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing Zheng Tao win the 100m backstroke, even though he has no arms.

Anyway, so this reminded me of these beautiful paintings by Johan Andersson which I went to see a little while ago.

The exhibition description says:

STOLEN FACES seeks to give representation and visibility, to those who do not conform to the artificial and image conscious (attributes so often propagated by onscreen and printed hegemony). In recognising the capacity of the global media (in line with public receptiveness) to distort ontological perceptions, the paintings stand both in defiance and pride, celebrating diversity in the knowledge that we are all uniquely made. – True dat.

In the gallery, they are MASSIVE and, also, I found them a little unsettling and difficult to look at – why? Maybe it’s because when I see disabled people or people with an odd appearance on the street I tend to look away. I don’t want to ‘stare’. But is this really putting an invisible barrier there? And is it making such a person more of an ‘other’ than a regular stranger? These paintings stare you down head on, with dignity, and I really like that. They made me ask questions about the way I ‘see’ and behave too.


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