Getting Tangled: Disabilty Art
A groundbreaking new art gallery has opened up a permanent space in Toronto. Tangled Art and Disability is an organization that has showcased disability art across Canada for the past 15 years. The organization has opened a dedicated space in the 401 Richmond building in Toronto that will allow audiences to interact with work by disabled artists. The space will also enable disabled patrons to enjoy art in a comfortable and welcoming setting and participate in workshops on artmaking, curatorial practices and funding specifically geared for disabled creators.
The realm of disability arts has been growing in prominence this year, including Canada's first-ever disability arts symposium, Cripping the Arts, held at Ryerson University this past April (where Tangled's artistic director Eliza Chandler is also a research fellow.) Chandler hopes that the establishment of a permanent gallery space will assist with professional development, funding (many disabled artists do not apply for arts funding because they fear losing government support for long-term needs) and curatorial practice (including making a space that is accessible and comfortable not only for patrons, but for artists too.) The gallery's opening exhibition by artist Persimmon Blackbridge was titled Constructed Identities, collecting small sculptures made of wood, metal and other found objects addressing concepts of disability, race and gender as they relate to bodies. It also features a sculpture that patrons could touch and manipulate; a thoughtful way of allowing visually-impaired art lovers to engage with the work. You can view a slideshow of Constructed Identities at brokenpencil.com/
news/getting-tangled. (Alison Lang)
Photo of Constructed Identities sculpture by Steve Kean