Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022

Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022

Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022 – The Shape Open is back for its tenth consecutive year with an exhibition of work from twenty-five international disabled and non-disabled artists. 2022’s curatorial theme is ‘In the mirror,’ and works were selected via a public open call-in collaboration with artist Christopher Samuel.

The show launched online on June 30th and will be available for two months.

“The Shape Open provides a fantastic platform for disabled artists to show their work. Such exhibitions offer great opportunities for artists to be discovered by institutions and larger audiences.”

Yinka Shonibare CBE

The event creates an opportunity for emerging and mid-career artists to raise their profile while allowing established artists taking part to show their work alongside new and fresh perspectives that they may not ordinarily encounter.

Having viewed the exhibition online, it is innovative and mind-provoking. You not only have the art to view but also a written and audio description of the artwork and artist, taking a deeper insight into this innovative collection.

About In the mirror

 In culture, mirrors are used to symbolise truth. It is also said that art is a mirror turned on society, reflecting the feeling and issues of the moment. Whether expressing the discovery of truth or meditating on the search for it, art has the power to reveal the truth that might be otherwise masked or disguised.

For disabled people, though, culture can be a distorted mirror, full of reflections and representations that are not just untrue, but harmful. History is littered with examples of damaging depictions of disabled people being used in art and culture as entertainment, education, or cautionary tales.

This exhibition, taking place in an age when mirrors are everywhere, even on our phones, challenges the process and assumptions that forge our ideas of who we are as people.

Through film, photography, data readings, portraiture, and computer-generated design, these works by twenty-five artists ask new questions. What happens to our understanding of ourselves if someone or something else has control over how we are represented? Who has this power and where did it come from? How do we decide what is true? And above all else, what is the actual truth about how we live our lives?

As they turn the mirror on themselves and society, we invite you to explore what might be found.

Exhibiting artists: Monique Jackson, Sop, Alec Finlay, Charlie Fitz, Alexandrina Hemsley, Andrea Spisto, Damien Robinson, anonymous, Yasmeen Fathima Thantrey, Sally Brighten, c. mae bloom, Cameron Morgan and Jonathan McKinstry, Frederick Ingoldby, Lejin Fan, Katie Luna Goldfinch, Allie Watson, Mark Tamer, Bianca Raffaela, Ellie Ora Page, April Lin, Dexter McLean, Nicola Gregory and Jack Haslam, Wendy Belcher, Esther Maltby, and MH Sarkis.

Elinor Hayes, the Creative Producer, said: “The artworks that make up this show take a complicated, undefinable kernel of human experience and not only open it up but explode the structures and relationships within, that we take for granted. Whether it’s an AI generating its own self-portrait or identity represented through the visual manipulation of personal data, In the mirror forces us to confront the way we understand ourselves and our place in the world.”

To give you an idea of the exhibition, we have focused on three artists:

Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022

Advocacy Fatigue by Charlie Fitz

The pieces exhibited by Charlie are ‘statements of self’ in digital collage and print. The artworks are part of Sick of Being Patient, which began as a multimedia project of cultural activism and has evolved into Charlie’s approach to art practice, aiming to resist and challenge stereotypes of the ‘sick’ and/or ‘disabled’ experience from a personal perspective.

Fable is a response to the frequent funnelling by others of Charlie’s experience into either a life to be inspired by or pitied. Advocacy Fatigue is a statement about burnout, as well as a reaction to continually being disbelieved as a young woman with a history of trauma in medical spaces. Disabled Joy marks a turn in Charlie’s work in which she is trying to embrace moments of joy whilst still validating the nuanced experiences of disability which is frequently represented in the media or pop culture as a reductive trope or plot device.

Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022

Reflections by Monique Jackson

Monique wanted to create a GIF that could depict the emotional support she experiences through online safe spaces and patient advocacy groups. These networks provide opportunity and space to recognise the phenomena these transnational internet communities can offer, especially to those who live in isolation, particularly during the pandemic.

Shape Open Art Exhibition 2022

MRI / Professional Development / In the park by Esther Maltby

This series of drawings was created before, during, and after a psychiatric diagnosis, and experience superimposed with Maltby’s coming to terms with their queer identity. The process of creating the comics was an exercise in self-reflection, with Maltby assigning feelings to the characters on the page. This investment of personal meaning leaves the audience with an implicit context only, and emotions to infer from colour, shape, and form. What might a mirror show if it could reach beneath the surface, into our imaginations?

Poppy Watt

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