Nancy Willis

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

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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.

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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.

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“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)





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