Marc Quinn, 1964–

September 24, 2017 by richard

Marc Quinn, a contemporary artist and sculpture, works arises from a deep fascination with existence. The materials are both form and content in which he uses art history to investigate and expand and broaden our thinking about the essence of being human. In this journey he has shown himself to be inclusive in his choice of subject matter focusing often in interesting and revealing ways on subject matter that many artists would rather ignore often focusing on disabled people.

For example, as a recovering alcoholism Marc produced etchings and then lead cast sculpture of emotional detoxification in the Seven Deadly Sins (1994) -anger, avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, pride and sloth. The body parts used were molds of his own body.

Emotional Detox Seven Deadly Sins 1994


Works such as the above compel viewers to think, confronting them with their own ideas about beauty and ugliness, life and death, art and science, normal and abnormal. Quinn in much of his work studies his own body as a point of departure. So in Self he made a portrait head of five litres of his own frozen blood making the vulnerability of existence palpable.

Head filled blood front

In 1997 in his Shit Paintings Quinn again challenged the viewer ‘It is absurd that through culture people become alienated from something of themselves or a function of themselves.’

The paintings were prepared treated and covered to not smell.

Shit painting 1997Shit head 1997

In 1997 -1999 Nervous Breakdown feature  casts of the artist’s head covered in thick layers of rubber almost hidden behind a mask of rubber, impaled on a stake-a horrific effect.

mustard use (1 of 1)-2Scarlet Nervous breakdown 1997


In the late 1990’s Quinn’s work took a turn focusing on other people. This took two directions, one focusing on flowers and the other on bodies. Walking through a museum and seeing all the ancient sculptures with parts missing he wondered how people would react to living human beings whose bodies had the same for. This lead to the series Complete Marbles (1999-20001). Quinn sought models who from birth or after an accident lacked one or more limbs. He made casts of them and then had Italian craftspeople produce sculptures in dazzling white marble in the classic tradition.

Alexandra Westmoquette 2000

Alexander Westmoquette

Stuart Penn Victoria and Albert 1-London 2000


Stuart Penn 2000 Victoria and Albert Museum,, London

marc quinn peter hull 2000Tom Yendell 2000


Peter Hull    Tom Yendell

Alison Lapper and Parys 2000Kiss 3 Marc Quinn


Alison Lapper and Parys                                                  The Kiss

This series culminated in Marc Quinn’s design for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square being accepted and causing much controversy.

Marc Quinn Fourth PlinthAlison Lapper Prwegnant 2005

Alison Lapper Pregnant 2005. For educational activities around this installation see:-


54 foot inflatable Alison Lapper by Marc at Venice Biennali  for an appreciation of the impact of the statue see

A counter part to Complete Marbles is Chemical Life Support(2005) for which Quinn selected people, including his own son, whose lives were dependent on medicines because of a hidden impairment. Disabled people with hidden impairment are the most difficult conditions  to portray but making them of polymer wax that looks like skin all the statues are lying on the ground in sleeping postures.

Innoscience 2004

Marc’s son had severe allergy to dairy products, which after three he was ‘Free’ of.

Chemical Life support 2005



Kate Hodgkinson-Acidal D£-Ferrous Sulphate-Methotrexate Plaquenil- Prednisolone (Lupus)

Carl Whittaker-Amiodarone–Asprin-Cicosporin (Heart Transplant)

Silvia Petretti-Sustiva-Tenofivir-3TC (HIV)

Nicholas Grogan-Insulin (Diabetes)

In Mirrors for the Blind (2005) ‘ I made portrait heads of  Anna Cannings and Bill Waltier, who had both been blind from birth. When they touched their portraits it was the first time they had ‘seen’ themselves in the way they see others with touch.’

Mirrors for the Blind MarkWaltier 2005Mirrors for the Blind Anne Cannings 2005

‘ I came across an etching in an C18th medical text book of the skeleton of Marc Cazotte who had Phocomelia, a genetic mutation condition, which can be caused by chemicals such as thalidomide. The human skeleton is such an archetypal image that to see it configured differently has a very strong effect and seems to question the idea of a ‘normal body’ in a new way.’ This relates very strongly to my marble portraits, some of which are also Phocometic persons.

Portrait of Marc Cazotte 1757-1801_2006 1


Marc Quinn Recent Works 2006 Nai Publishers: Groningeen Museum

Marc Quinn Fourth Plinth , 2006 Steidmack: Germany




Liu Shuai, 1989–

September 23, 2017 by richard



лªÉçÕÕƬ£¬Ê¯¼Òׯ£¬2015Äê4ÔÂ15ÈÕ     ʯ¼Òׯ£º26ËêÄÔ̱С»ï×ÔÇ¿²»Ï¢Âô»­Ñø¼Ò     4ÔÂ14ÈÕ£¬Áõ˧ÔÚ¼ÒÖÐ×÷»­¡£     ½ñÄê26ËêµÄÁõ˧ÊǺӱ±Ê¯¼ÒׯÊÐÉîÔóÏØÈË¡£ÓÉÓÚÏÈÌìÄÔ̱£¬Áõ˧Ó×ʱ¾Í²»ÄÜÏñÆäËûÕý³£¶ùͯһÑùȥѧУѧϰ¡£9Ëêʱ£¬¸¸Ç×´ÓÍâÃæ´ø»Ø¼¸Ö§À¬»ø¶ÑÀï¼ñÀ´µÄË®²Ê±Ê£¬ÕâЩÑÕÉ«¸÷ÒìµÄ¡°Ä§·¨°ô¡±ÎªÁõ˧µÄͯÄê´ò¿ªÁËÒ»ÉÈÃÅ¡£     2003Ä꣬Áõ˧¸ç¸çÒò³µ»öÈ¥ÊÀ£¬¸¸Ç×Ò²Öز¡¡£Áõ˧¾öÐĽ«×Ô¼ºµÄ»­×÷Âô³öΪ¸¸Ç×Öβ¡£¬Áõ˧ÓÒÊÖûÓÐÁ¦ÆøÎձʣ¬Ëû²»¶Ï¶ÍÁ¶£¬Ó²ÉúÉú°Ñ×Ô¼º±ä³ÉÁË×óƲ×Ó¡£Ã¿»­Ò»·ù»­£¬Ëû¶¼Òª»¨·Ñ±È±ðÈ˸ü¶àµÄʱ¼äºÍ¾«Á¦¡£¾­¹ý¶àÄêµÄÇڷܺÍŬÁ¦£¬Èç½ñÁõ˧µÄ»­×÷ÒÑÓÐÊý°Ù·ùÖ®¶à¡£     2011Ä꣬Áõ˧ÔÚʯ¼Òׯ²©Îï¹Ý¾Ù°ì¸öÈË»­Õ¹£¬ÓмÒÉÌÒµ¹«Ë¾Ã¿ÔÂÒÔ600ÔªµÄ¼Û¸ñ¹Ì¶¨ÊÕ¹ºËûµÄ3ÕÅ»­£¬×÷Ϊ¶ÔËûµÄ°ï·ö¡£     2015Ä꣬Áõ˧¸¸Ç×ÒòÌÇÄò²¡¼ÓÖØÎÔ´²²»Æ𣬼ÒÖÐËùÊ£ÎÞ¼¸µÄÇ®ÒÑÎÞ·¨Î¬³Ö½ÓÏÂÀ´µÄÖÎÁÆ£¬Áõ˧ƴÃü»­»­²¢¼ÄÏ£Íû½«×÷Æ·È«²¿³öÊÛ¡£     лªÉç¼ÇÕß ÍõÏþÉã

Liu Shuai mainly employs black and colored ink and uses both the two main techniques in traditional Chinese painting-Shui Mo, freehand or watercolor or brush painting, and Gong Bi, meticulous or court-style painting.


Shauai  suffers from cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair since his childhood. Despite many adversities of life, Shuai has never yielded to it. Being not able to attend school, he asked his mother to borrow textbooks to teach him to read. Then he got a dictionary and started teaching himself . At 10, Shuai started painting when one day his father picked up a crayon in the street and brought it back home. “I soon lost myself in the pleasure of painting and found it a way to express my inner world,” Shuai said in an interview.


Liu Shuai, Elegant Gathering of Friends.


When Shuai paints, he has to sit in his shabby wheelchair with the help of his father he has his legs tied to the wheelchair in order to allow him to paint.  “I can’t stretch out my fingers fully and my hands tremble when painting so I have to lay my wrist on an ink box.” Shuai said, He is left handed only because his right hand is a lot worse then his left. .” For all these limitations, Shuai paints three to four hours every day.


Shuai is a self taught painter. He spends a lot of his time reading theory and instruction books, copying artworks in history and learning from videos and artists advice interviews.


Liu Shuai,  Picture of Listening to Spring


Traditionally, as a painter of Chinese brush painting, the artist must be versed in literature as well if he wants to be an accomplished painter. Chinese paintings have long been a means of expressing thoughts of great scholars down throughout the ages. Shuai knows this well. He reads as many books as he can get his hands on and keeps writing down his thoughts.  Here is a short note by Shuai: “Immersed in the painting for over a decade, how many hot and cold times have gone? Fingers tremble with the cold bed in winter and in summer shirts get wet and dry. Every single dot and line are painted in heart. My brushes and ink move and flow as days extend.”


In spite of years being isolated in his village, Shuai successfully held a small exhibition of his China  and won a second prize in an arts competition for the disabled in Hebei Province.


Today, Shuai is accepted as a member of Chilture Studio of Disabled Artists. Chilture will do its best to assist him in  holding a formal exhibition, having a collection of his painting published and getting instructions from accomplished masters of Chinese painting.



Embed Video Here



Yinka Shonibare, 1962–

September 22, 2017 by richard

Yinka Shonibare race class and cultural Identity,  1962 –





Yinka Shonibare is a British – Nigerian artist living in the United  kingdom. He has  become well known for his exploration of colonialism and postcolonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through sharp political commentary of the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories.


Yinka Shonibare,  The Age of Enlightenment, 2008

YinkaShonibare (1) National SeATING AND mOBILITY


Shonibare contracted transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, at the age of 18, which resulted in a long-term physical disability where one side of his body is paralysed. He then went on to study fine arts. Following his studies studies, Shonibare worked as an arts development officer for Shape Arts, an organisation which makes arts accessible to disabled people.


“I do have a physical disability and I was determined that the scope of my creativity should not be restricted purely by my physicality. It would be like an architect choosing to build only what could be physically built by hand.” says Shonibare.  Shonibare readily acknowledges physical disability as part of his identity but creates work in which this is just one strand of a far richer weave.


Because of his disability, he is physically incapable of carrying out the making of the work himself, and relies upon a team of assistants to realise his artistic vision for him. In this context, conceptualism takes on a new angle. “That Shonibare became a conceptual artist who delegates much of the production of his labor-intensive projects to a network of other artists is partly a result of his disabling illness.”

Shonibare’s disability has increased with age; as his mobility has become further restricted with time, he has begun to use an Electric wheelchair,  In later life, Shonibare has become more open to discussing his disability and its role within his work as a creative artist.  In 2013, Shonibare was announced as patron of the annual Shape Arts “Open” exhibition where disabled and non-disabled artists are invited to submit work in response to an Open theme


Diary of a Victorian Dandy Series V&A



He was notably commissioned by  Okwui Enwezor at documenta XI in 2002 to create his most recognised work Gallantry and Criminal Conversation that launched him on an international stage.

shonibare-4-bINDING BREWERY

Yinka Shonibare, Gallantry and Criminal Conversation , 2002

Shonibare was nominated for a Turner prize in 2004, and was also awarded the decoration of member of the ‘Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire’ or MBE, a title he has added to his professional name. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial and internationally at leading museums worldwide. In September 2008, his major mid-career survey commenced at the MCA Sydney and toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York in June 2009 and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC in October 2009 .

Black Gold II Y S

“Black Gold II” (2006) by Yinka Shonibare.  White/James Cohan Gallery

In 2010, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle became his first public art commission.


Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare during its occupancy of the  Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square

Shonibare examines, in particular, the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Mining Western art history and literature, he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. People always took his work seriously and he said ” if love someone fight for them with your hands”

A key material in Shonibare’s work since 1994 is the brightly coloured “African” fabric (Dutch wax-printed cotton) that he buys himself from Brixton market in London. “But actually, the fabrics are not really authentically African the way people think,” says Shonibare. “They prove to have a crossbred cultural background quite of their own. And it’s the fallacy of that signification that I like. It’s the way I view culture – it’s an artificial construct.”


Yinka Shonibare The Swing (After Fragonard)  2001 is now part of the Tate Modern collection in London.


I know something about loveYinka Shonibare,  I  Know Something About Love, 2011





“How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Ladies),” a 2006 work by Yinka Shonibare with mannequins,


The Scramble for Africa 2003











Yinka Shonibare,  I  Know Something About Love, 2011





“How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Ladies),” a 2006 work by Yinka Shonibare with mannequins,







Sanchita Islam, 1973–

by richard

c12ffcc4-c072-425b-94f5-eeec396bb004-2060x1236ProfitabilityIslam was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England to a “non-Sylheti“Bangladeshi parents. Islam’s father died when she was eight months old, at the time her mother was in her mid 20s with three children under the age of four. Islam and her sisters were brought up by their mother and step-father. Her mother was a social worker in Manchester and Oldham.

From 1977 to 1984, Islam attended Amberleigh Preparatory School. From 1984 to 1991, she attended Chorlton Convent High School for Girls. In June 1991, she completed A-levels in Art, English Literature, History at Loreto College in Manchester. In June 1992, she completed an Art foundation diploma at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In September 1996, Islam graduated from the London School of EconomicsUniversity of London with a BSc in International History and a MSc in Comparative Politics. In February 1998, she completed an MA in Directing and Screenwriting sponsored by Channel 4 at the Northern Media School at Sheffield Hallam University. She then enrolled for BA in Fine Art Practice and Theory of Visual Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design and dropped out in her second year.

From 1996 to 1998, Islam had a short career working as researcher in television for London Weekend Television. In 1998, Islam participated in the group show 000 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Later, during a show of her drawings and paintings, she was told she would have to be at the gallery full-time. Islam decided to take her practice to the public.

People came to the gallery and were more interested in watching Islam paint, which urged Islam to combine live painting, live visuals and live music. In January 1999, Pigment Explosion was initially set up to perform live art events, but now specialises in international art projects. Since 1999, Pigment Explosion has branched out into projects that include film, painting, drawing, writing and photography.

Islam has done nearly 100 group and solo shows  in London, Paris, New York and Bangladesh. She has written 15 books and two plays  as well as readings tours with writers like Irvine Welsh and Miranda Sawyer. She has worked with the British Council, on projects with the elderly, workshops in schools and with disadvantaged children. She has directed and/or produced 17 films, in London, New York, Paris, Bangladesh, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Rome, India, Pakistan, Frankfurt, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Barcelona and Miami; they have been exhibited and screened in these places excluding Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Barcelona and Miami. Her films and books, which combine text and drawings, have been funded by the Arts CouncilBBCBritish Council and Commonwealth Institute.

She was an artist in residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery between 2003 and 2004, she was artist in residence at the Open Gallery from 2004 to 2008, and also worked as an artist in residence at TVF Media from 2004 to 2009. She was also artist in resident at Artscape and Shoreditch House and her art features in various venues around London such as Sketch, Mark Hix‘s restaurant and she was commissioned to do over one hundred paintings for Clifton Hotel Group in Bristol.

In 2010, the UK Film Council commissioned Islam’s animated film The White Wall. In 2010 and 2011 the theatre group Estaca Zero Teatro in Portugal performed two of Islam’s plays, The Suitcase and Hello.

In March 2013, she had a mid-career retrospective at Rich Mix. KAOS (TrActor’s sister organisation) awarded her a grant to complete the second scroll project with patients suffering from mental health problems in Brussels 2014. Rich Mix has invited Pigment Explosion again to exhibit this second scroll and write/perform a play about art, madness and disability, the show is scheduled in June 2015. In March of the same year, she was interviewed by Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network about her exhibition The Rebel Within.

In January 2015, Muswell Hill Press published her new book, written under the pseudonym Q.S Lam, Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too. In June 2015, the book was launched in London at Shoreditch House and Rich Mix. Islam lives and works in East London, is married and has two sons. Her husband is of Swedish descent.

Since the age of four, Islam has suffered from melancholia. In 2009, at the age of 36, she had her first experience of psychosis. 


Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too Exhibition 2009

The artist explains some of the ideas behind the exhibition in a moving and intimate series of reflections on a selection of the artworks

Wall 1: Mother and child sketches

In 2009 I suffered my first psychotic episode, I thought it was a mental aberration, but then it struck a second time in 2010. After a period of recovery I fell pregnant, but was never forewarned that I might be vulnerable to postpartum psychosis.

Throughout my pregnancy I worked on creating and delivering my animation film White Wall for the UK Film Council. Three days after I gave birth psychosis struck and my life changed irrevocably.

I was kept in hospital for one month, in a mother and baby psychiatric unit in Brussels, my mental health deteriorated, I had to act ‘normal’ to ensure release.

When I got home psychosis was never far away, I suffered multiple visions when I breastfeed or if I was sleep deprived. I had very little mental health support, but I learnt to recognise the patterns inherent within psychosis and realised the only thing that would help me would be to draw. I drew anything, the view from my hospital window and then my focus was my new-born baby.

I began to assiduously draw my baby as he breast fed or slept. I made a second book when my second child was born and postpartum psychosis struck again.

Making these drawings, each and every one of them, kept me well and silenced ‘Fred’ the negative voice in my head.

The oil paintings are part of a series that began when the children were still in the womb.

I am painting one oil painting of them each year until they are 18 and the idea is that the 18 portraits will make up one composite piece.

I have also included colour pencil portrait studies of the children.




I have also included drawings of my parents, because without them I wouldn’t be here and nor my children, my mother perhaps carried the mad gene and passed it onto me and thereby I may have passed it on to my children.

Can we break the cycle? I hope so through education and art – I think it is possible.

Wall 2: Postcards

While working in Brussels I participated in ‘Return to Sender’ at the Contemporary Arts Centre in Brussels, which consisted of an exhibition of various artists who each created a postcard.

Every artist involved had some history or link with mental health issues.

After creating my first one, I found the experience so positive that I decided to continue and hence my 1000 Postcards project was born.

As a mother with mental health problems and two small children, finding time and space to make my art can be difficult, creating a postcard is possible given my time constraints.

Very soon my young son became involved in the project, he would create squiggles and I would then transform them into ethereal landscapes replete with dragons or dinosaurs, Lego figures, poems and lines of wisdom etc. The postcard project has helped to cement the bond between us.


So far I have created 180. Some are drawn, others painted, I even created one in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, I realise the postcard can be a simple but powerful art form.

Wall 3: White Wall and Dragon Story – the realm of the fantasy






I have included this work because the realm of the fantasy has been an important part of my recovery. After my first psychosis in 2009 and 2010 working on my animation film White Wall, for the UK Film Council, helped to heal my broken mind since the film is about a little girl with mental health problems.


Similarly the Tree People is a story I wrote when I was 23, but due to my mental health issues I have never done anything with it, like many of the books I have written I just shoved it in a drawer, I then re-visited it thinking that my children would appreciate the story and this motivated me to create a colour version of the original black and white drawings.

I now hope to turn both of them into books for children. I want to write stories for children about people with mental health issues, environmental issues and write about ‘brown’ families or set stories in Bangladesh.

I am sure many of my mental health problems stem from this sense of not fitting, or belonging, or counting or being heard or represented.



Wall 4: Text, brain sketchbooks, Fred paintings and war

Shortly before and since the psychosis text has been an intrinsic part of my practise as an artist.

Text now features on my paintings, in my drawings, sketchbooks and scrolls.

People often ask why do I write so small? To which I reply it is because I need to get the stuff out of my head, but I don’t necessarily want people to read it.

Some of the text pieces were made when I have been emotionally very distressed.

The brain sketchbooks all feature, text, a level of colour abstraction and drawing.

People would often look at my sketchbooks and want to buy them, but they will never be for sale, but here they are in this exhibition for people to examine.




The Fred portrait is the closest I have ever got to visually depicting Fred, ‘the negative voice in my head’.

I do believe that this painting is very sinister.

The abstract colour paintings are examples of pure expression and emotion. The band Polar Bear commissioned these particular paintings for their album cover.

Working with colour in its pure form does have a palliative impact on my brain.


My Bosnian war paintings, created over the last twenty years, reflect my on-going interest in warfare both historical, actual and internal psychological warfare.

Often it does feel as if I am going to war with Fred each day of my life. These paintings were the inspiration for my trilogy of war scrolls.


Wall 5: Photography and self-portraits

I have included a series of photographic portraits of Mia, my glamorous alter ego.

There are also portraits of the patients I worked with in Brussels and KAOS with the photographer Lieven van Meulder. These same patients created a second scroll entitled ‘War on a Scroll Part 1’ which will be displayed on the opening night.

The wall also features Lieven’s portraits of the patients. His style is very different from mine. During my time working with KAOS and the patients in Brussels Lieven and I formed a friendship, we could talk about psychosis and he taught me a great deal about photography. I wanted to showcase his work as part of the exhibition.


Lieven and I have embarked on a separate project where I began taking portraits of him and he, in turn, took portraits of me. In essence two ‘so- called’ mad people taking portraits of one another, exploring notions of madness.

I have also included a series of drawn self portraits with the photographic portraits to raise further questions about the external image we project to the world and the other image we hide.




‘War on a Scroll Part 1’ is the first in a trilogy of scrolls that I have been creating about war. Image © Sanchita Islam

I created four scrolls during the postpartum period. I made three of them with my son, the idea was to cement our bond and create a work that could help me cut through the psychosis that kept on threatening the relationship with my son and also create something magical and indelible and special.

‘War on a Scroll Part 1’ is the first in a trilogy of scrolls that I have been creating about war.

I have always been interested in the futility of war and the importance of documenting it, so this war scroll project is my attempt at depicting all wars, past and present, on three scrolls.

The first in the series also depicts the internal psychological warfare experienced by the patients I worked with at KAOS in Brussels, juxtaposed with actual warfare.

I would argue one step further that internal mental war can lead to actual war and senseless acts of violence, so having a level of mental peace will go a long way towards actual peace globally.

Tony Heaton, 1954–

by richard

Tony Heaton ,  Sculptor, lecturer, NDACA founder, Shape Chair


Tony Heaton was born in Preston, Lancashire. At the age of 16, a motor bike accident left him with a spinal injury, he switched from a comprehensive school to a local arts college at Southport. From 1972, he was self employed as artist, sign writer, disc jockey, record shop proprietor, progressive rock band member and mural painter. According to a Disability Arts Online profile, at this period “Heaton gathered enormous expertise and self-reliance whilst appearing to drift aimlessly”  In 1986 he enrolled on a visual arts degree at Lancaster University whilst earning a living as a sign-painter

Heaton was CEO of Shape Arts for 9 years of it’s 40-year history, and is now chair of the organisation. Prior to Shape Tony was the Director of Holton Lee for over 10 years, a disability-led arts organisation through whose doors many Disability Arts Movement artists passed. Throughout the past 30 years Tony has been a practicing artist in the field of sculpture and performance art.

Tony’s sculpture work has been widely profiled. ‘Monument to the Unintended Performer’ was installed on the Big 4 at the entrance to Channel 4 TV Centre in celebration of the 2012 Paralympics. It was, in his words, ‘created in recognition of all those disabled people who are subject to scrutiny simply by getting on a bus in a wheelchair or walking down the street with a white cane.’



 Material: Fibreglass, steel, automotive paint.  Dimensions: L. 9’9” W. 4’6” Date: 2014

This sculpture began, as many do, with a conversation. This particular conversation was with the Curator of the ‘Art of the Lived Experiment’, Aaron Williamson, concerning alchemy, the idea of turning a base metal into gold, turning something of little value into a substance of value, a speculative philosophy. The objective of alchemy, the quest for transmutation, was often primarily aimed at effecting personal change in the Alchemist. The changing of objects and meaning has been constant within my practice as an artist, and, for this current work and response to the idea of ‘the art of the lived experiment’ I have selected an iconic object, the Invacar, and the notion of transmutation, the effecting of personal change. Its complicated, I transmuted from Biker to Invalid. I was issued with an Invacar in 1971. The Invacar was a societal response, initiated by government, to the lack of access to so-called public transport. The solution was to provide Invalids with a form of very cheap transport, though considered a prosthetic, a medical replacement for legs.  An unlined fiberglass shell, 9’.9” long and 4’.6” wide, a single seat, sat on a chassis of three wheels, space for a folding wheelchair, propelled by a small motorcycle engine with a cubic capacity of 197, three gears plus reverse and a maximum speed of around 45 mph. The single seat meant that you travelled alone, the assumption had to be that you had no friends, family, lovers, the solitary cripple, other. They were all painted the same colour, to mark you out as other. A pale blue, NHS Blue, this became know as Spazz Blue. It was banned from motorways. This was clearly stated on all motorway signage. No Invalid Carriages. It disappeared from the roads of Britain in 1983, and like all icons can now only be witnessed, restored pristine, in the museum. But this one escaped, suspended, transformed from prosthetic to sculpture, transmuted from Spazz Blue to Gold, Lame to Lamé.


‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’ is a map of Britain made from parts of two grey NHS wheelchairs. When Tony first told me about this work as he was making it, it seemed a rather foolish and unworkable idea. I was wrong: it’s wonderful – I described it elsewhere as ‘like a disability version of one of my very favourite art works, the bull’s head which Pablo Picasso made from a bicycle saddle and handlebars.’ First seeing it, in the ‘Unleashed’ exhibition earlier this year, I found that initially it just looked like a lot of bits of old wheelchairs. As with those 3D prints, it took a while to adjust perceptually. Then suddenly it sprang into place – a complete, startlingly real map of Great Britain. A delightful game, it forms a wonderful repudiation of the value judgement (‘This is for some tragic bastard’, in Tony’s words) implicit in the wheelchairs’.  Allan Sutherland (edited from DAIL magazine)

Disability Arts Movement highlights


Heaton’s 1992 performance of his famous piece, ‘Shaken Not Stirred’, was part of the ‘Block Telethon’ protests. Through the destruction of a pyramid of over 1,000 charity collecting cans, this piece emphasised the needs for social rights as opposed to charity.

SHAKEN NOT STIRRED   Original performance piece 1992.

Click HERE for the original performance images and article on Disability Arts Online

Great Britain from a Wheelchair

Further reading

Heaton’s website:

Interview with Tony Heaton:

Nancy Willis

by richard

Image Results for nancy willis artistImage Results for nancy willis artist

Nancy Willis is a London based artist whose work includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, and moving image.

Image Results for nancy willis artistSimilar photo

Nancy has exhibited in the Whitechapel Open, Diorama Art Gallery, London, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle and BBC Television Centre. She was Artist in Residence at Hammersmith Hospital and Byam Shaw School of Art. In 2003 she received the Arts Council Innovate Award. Her film ‘Elegy for the Elswick Envoy’, commissioned by Channel 4, won ‘Best Documentary’ at film festivals in the USA, Australia, and Africa.

Similar photoImage Results for nancy willis artist

After a period of working with moving image, animation and digital works, Nancy has returned to a simple, traditional medium: “Recovering from a serious illness and a long period of hospitalisation, I wanted to reconnect with the world: to draw from life with pen and ink, to be out in the air and look at nature…” The results of this exploration can be seen in the Drawing Journal. Nancy Willis is a London based artist. Throughout her career she has sought to express her particular view of life and experience of disability. In her work, Nancy creates a place where complex emotions can be explored without feelings of shame. Disability arts has provided a supportive environment for her art to thrive, it is from this place that she explores the universal themes of love, loss and human vulnerability.

Image Results for nancy willis artist


“In my art I explore my personal experience of life and disability. In telling my own story I hope to touch on the joys and sorrows we all share.”  




Disability Arts Movement: Highlights

In 1988 Nancy organised the ‘Disabled Women Artists’ conference, held by the Women Artists’ Slide Library, London.

In 1992, Nancy was a speaker at the ‘Disabled People & Visual Arts’ conference for ‘Visual Arts & Galleries’

In 2003, Nancy contributed to the anthology,‘Shelf Life’an artist book published by the ‘Northern Disability Arts Forum’


Further Reading

‘Elegy for the Elswick Envoy’ (2007)

Nancy Willis’ award-winning Channel 4 documentary. Subtitles available.

‘Transformation’ (2010)

Animated art by Nancy Willis, based on ‘The Explorer’ by Allan Sutherland, with music by Chris Morris

Drawing journal (ongoing)





Lisa Fittipaldi, 1948–

by richard

Lisa not only learned to paint after losing her sight, she wrote a book about it. Her inspiring use of color and her ability to tell which color she is using just by feeling the texture of the paint are just two remarkable facets of her story.Image Results for lisa fittipaldi biography

Born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1948, Lisa Fittipaldi attended the University of Michigan receiving a Bachelors of Art degree in education in 1970. She then attended nursing school at the University of South Carolina where she met her husband Al in 1972. They were married in New York in 1974. She worked at the Baltimore Burn Center as a trauma care burn specialist with a Masters degree from the University of Maryland in 1976. Fittipaldi again returned to school, receiving her Masters degree in accountancy from the University of Houston in 1982. She changed careers to move into the field of high finance by pursuing a career as a CPA and financial analyst that year.

Lisa Fittipaldi was a trauma-care nurse and a Certified Public Accountant before she lost her sight in 1993. Memories of having traveled the world with her husband Al, a career Naval Officer, has allowed her to depict daily life in astonishingly rich color and depth. Prior to her vision loss she had no art background. The challenge of a child’s watercolor set, thrown down like a gauntlet by her frustrated husband, opened the door to a new life in the field of art. A self-taught artist, Fittipaldi began selling her works in 1995, first at local shows, then at art fairs around the country and today on her website and throughout the world. She appears on dozens of local and national television programs, grants radio and print interviews, and gives speeches and demonstrations to audiences worldwide. Painting was one of several avenues that Fittipaldi explored as a way of finding her place in the world after becoming blind. She quickly understood that painting her storehouse of memories was both a source of nourishment and a way to keep her world alive in her mind. As she began to paint, she also realized that the principles of art gave her a system for comprehending and navigating the three-dimensional world she could no longer see. Whatever she learned in her painting studio, working on a two-dimensional canvas, could be applied to her understanding of the vast dark world she now lived in.

Since her entrance into the International world of art, she has sold over 500 paintings internationally, both in oil and watercolor. Since 1997, her complex scenes of diverse cultures and everyday life have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. A deep understanding of color theory supplanted her need to “feel” the consistency of the paint to know what color she was using. Colorful abstract paintings gave way to still life and landscape, and ultimately to complex figurative paintings of a teeming marketplace or a crowded jazz club.

Realizing a deficit in our educational system, she founded the Mind’s Eye Foundation in 1999 to provide specially equipped computers and software to vision and hearing impaired schoolchildren so they can remain mainstreamed in our schools. Among her other endeavors, she and her husband run a successful bed and breakfast in San Antonio, Texas.

Image Results for lisa fittipaldi biography

Alison Lapper, 1961–

by richard

Alison Lapper has phocomelia and was born without arms and with shortened legs. Since her childhood, she has lived in homes and has had little contact with her kinship. The mother saw her child for the last time at the age of four months; later Lapper saluted herself with her.

When she was fitted with arm prostheses , she did not feel it helpful, but as an attempt to make her appearance less disturbing; she refused and learned to live without artificial help. At the age of 19, Lapper left the home and moved to London, where she obtained the driving license. Lapper studied at the University of Brighton and earned a first class degree in Fine Arts in 1994 .

Lapper uses photography , computer graphics and painting in her works, which, as she puts it, ask questions about physical normality and beauty. She paints with her mouth. The sculpture Venus of Milo , which tells Lapper something about similarities between the idealized female image and Lapper’s body, gained a special influence . She has participated in various British art exhibitions, for example at the Royal Festival Hall . She is a member of the association of mouth and foot painters . In May 2003, Lapper was awarded the MBE for her work in art.

After the birth of her son Parys in 1999, who was born without physical problem, she elaborated an installation of photographs that she showed together with him.

Alison Lapper MBE is an artist, television presenter and speaker. See works at

Alison has a First Class Honors Degree in Fine Art and is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting ArtistsClick here to find out more about her artwork.

 In 2016, after featuring as a subject in many documentaries throughout her life, Alison began a new career as a presenter for television. She co-presented No Body’s Perfect for BBC4 with the photographer Rankin, followed by her own take on William Blake for Sky Arts in 2017. Click here to find out more about Alison’s television career.

She is a well known public figure and regularly gives talks about her life. Born with no arms and shortened legs, Alison was institutionalised at six weeks old and spent her next 17 years at Chailey Heritage in Sussex. At the age of 19, she obtained a driving licence and her own flat, and began to live her daily life independently. Audiences at her talks range from the Royal College of Midwives to local voluntary groups. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a talk with Alison.

Her autobiography My Life in My Hands (Simon & Schuster, 2006) has been translated into 9 languages, and can be purchased here.

In 2005, artist and friend, Marc Quinn, erected the statue Alison Lapper Pregnant in Trafalgar Square. He wanted the statue on the Fourth Plinth to celebrate “someone who has conquered their own circumstances, rather than someone who has conquered the outside world”. 

In 2012, an inflatable replica of the statue was a centrepiece in the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

See below for a short video from ITV News, where Alison discusses the statue and people’s perception of it.

Alison has a First Class Honors Degree in Fine Art and is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting ArtistsClick here to find out more about her artwork.

In 2016, after featuring as a subject in many documentaries throughout her life, Alison began a new career as a presenter for television. She co-presented No Body’s Perfect for BBC4 with the photographer Rankin, followed by her own take on William Blake for Sky Arts in 2017. Click here  to find out more about Alison’s television career.

She is a well known public figure and regularly gives talks about her life. Born with no arms and shortened legs, Alison was institutionalised at six weeks old and spent her next 17 years at Chailey Heritage in Sussex. At the age of 19, she obtained a driving licence and her own flat, and began to live her daily life independently. Audiences at her talks range from the Royal College of Midwives to local voluntary groups. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a talk with Alison.

Her autobiography My Life in My Hands (Simon & Schuster, 2006) has been translated into 9 languages, and can be purchased here.

In 2005, artist and friend, Marc Quinn, erected the statue Alison Lapper Pregnant in Trafalgar Square. He wanted the statue on the Fourth Plinth to celebrate “someone who has conquered their own circumstances, rather than someone who has conquered the outside world”.

In 2012, an inflatable replica of the statue was a centrepiece in the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

See below for a short video from ITV News, where Alison discusses the statue and people’s perception of it.

ProfitabilityImageResult for Alison Lapper art work

Image Result for Alison Lapper art work


 Opening Ceremony Paralympics 35 foot version, London, 2012

Peter Longstaff, 1961–

by richard

Peter is a foot painter. He creates all of his artwork using just his feet, having no arms. Peter’s disability stemmed from the drug thalidomide, which was prescribed for morning sickness until it was discovered that it caused deformities fetuses. After living most of his life without arms, Peter considers his right foot to be like the right hand of most people, using it dexterously to open doors and perform many other everyday tasks.

Peter Longstaff was born without arms as a result of his mother being prescribed the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy, but Peter has never considered himself as being disabled. This is due to the refusal of his family to single him out as being different and led to the unusual choice of farming as a career. Inspired by his uncle, a pig farmer in Norfolk, Peter successfully ran his own pig farm for twenty years. Wearing boots inhibited the necessity of using his feet to drive the tractor and carry out other tasks on the farm so Peter spent every winter with his bare feet freezing cold and muddy, but he loved the outdoor life and his business flourished. However, at the end of the 1990’s cheap imports of foreign bacon led to the near collapse of the British pig industry and with Peter’s business no longer viable he was forced to sell up.The transition from a full time, seven day a week commitment to being redundant was difficult, especially since Peter had a young family to support, but he decided to revisit a childhood hobby and enrolled in an art and photography course. Advised by a Thalidomide friend, Peter contacted Tom Yendell who encouraged him to submit his work for assessment by the MFPA, leading to the award of a scholarship in 2002. Since then Peter has applied the same discipline and hard work that he devoted to farming to his new career as an artist. Peter’s goal is to be accepted by society as a professional painter, the philosophy of MFPA founder Erich Stegmann. Peter has a son, Milo, and lives in Norfolk.

Peter’s paintings – click on an image to enlarge

Results for peter longstaff

Joseph Cartin, 1953–

by richard


Cartin is from Brooklyn and actively lives with bipolar disorder. He has been active in the Mental Health Consumer Movement since 1990 and considers himself a “psychiatric survivor”. He has won numerous art competitions and does corporate design work in addition to his art. As well as his personal art he is and architectural designer and lives by his commercial work.