Tanya Raabe-Webber


Tanya Raabe other wise known as Tanya Raabe-Webber was Born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been a practising Visual Artist, devising artworks exploring and challenging identity, a disabled self and the nude in contemporary Art since 1987. She gained a BA(HONS) in Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic an MA in Communication Design at Manchester Metropolitan University and a PGCE in Higher Education fron Huddersfield University.

Tanya has exhibited as a solo artist and in group shows nationally including screening Who’s Who at National Portrait Gallery, Exhibitions at Holton Lee, Dorset, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, The Bluecoat, The A Foundation, Liverpool, Oriel Wrexham, Laing Gallery Newcastle since 1990.

Tanya Raabe-Webber is an acclaimed disabled artist challenging the notion of identity within contemporary portraiture, often creating portraits of high profile disabled people during live sittings in public art galleries and venues.

The winner of Ability Media International Award, Visual Arts in 2010 and DaDa International Festival, Visual Arts Award 2008, Tanya has also appeared on the BBC programme The Culture Show, undertaking a live televised portrait of the actor, musician and performance artist Mat Fraser and was recently shortlisted for The National Diversity Awards Lifetime Achievement.

Her recent collection Revealing Culture : HeadOn – Portraits of the Untold was delivered through a partnership between Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Wolverhampton Art Gallery, where live portrait sittings took place during a series of residencies in these venues, sitters including Tom Shakespeare Sociologist – Bioethicist, Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton, D.B.E, Active Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and Sir Bert Massie CBE Former Chair of the Disability Rights Commission.

She has worked on many commissions including Architects Inside Out: Tate Modern and Art Matters: Tate Britain and most recently co-presented her collaborative research with Project Ability at the Contemporary Outsider Art: the global context conference in Melbourne Australia.

Sandy Nairne Director of National Portrait Gallery opens Whos Who at Shape, Tanya and Tony Heaton R:Evolve an instalation from the Revealing Culture collection, Bluecoat, Liverpool

Photo on the left: Sandy Nairne Director of NPG, Artist Tanya Raabe-Webber Tony Heaton, CEO Shape opening of Portraits by Tanya Raabe-Webber

Commissions include:

International Film Festival Canada – Picture This is sceening short Film ‘Portrait of Deborah Williams’ Feb 2012 – Calgary, Alberta. Canada


JGarry-RobsontomshakespeareRobert Softley and Nathan Gale

Portraits Dame Jane Campbell, Debs Williams Actor /Producer, Nabil Shaban Actor, Gary Robson DA Da Fest, Prof Tom Shakespeare, Robert Softley and Nathan Gal

Awards recieved:

  • Winner of Ability Media International Award, Visual Arts 2010, http://amiawards.org/2010-visual-arts
  • DaDa International Festival 2008 Visual Arts.
  • Arts Council England Grants for the Arts awards include Who’s Who 2008, Revealing Culture:HeadOn 2009-11.

Some of her other work includes Advisor on Cultural Olympiad commission ‘Artists Taking the Lead’, http://www.artiststakingthelead.org.uk/west-midlands/info and participatory work in Galleries, Schools, colleges and theatres nationally. Her work has been Published internationally in Representation of Sex, by H. Hagiwara, Osaka Women’s University, Japan.

Tanya is presently working on series of portraits commissioned by Meadow Arts and she is an associate Director of Fittings MultiMedia Arts http://www.fittings.org.uk/ . Tanya also recently created live portraits of high profile cultural figures who have helped to define a thriving Disability cultural identity with in a contemporary society. These portraits were created during a series of portrait sittings open to the public in Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Portraits of the Untold A collaboration with Tate Gallery http://www.tanyaraabe.co.uk/TR%20RC_HO%20cat2011.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/disability-36904309/painting-a-picture-of-diversity  Film of Portrait of Evelyn Glennie Deaf Musician

Tanya Raabe-Webber is an acclaimed disabled artist challenging the notion of identity within contemporary portraiture, often creating portraits of high profile disabled people during live sittings in high profile public art galleries and venues.

She has been a professional artist since 1987. Tanya’s extensive collection of contemporary portraits and images of a disabling world often make use of a variety of mediums including mixed media collage, digital media, and traditional paint which she blends seamlessly to create her images.

There are significant aesthetic differences between Raabe-Webber’s earlier pieces and her current style of portraiture.

Quotes from Tanya

‘My work is driven by the portrayal of the diversity of humanity’

Tanya Raabe

‘I am a visual, issue-based artist/illustrator practising in the art of mixed-media painting and drawing. My artwork focuses on issues that are born out of my life experiences as a woman and a disabled person. I am an artist and a disabled artist creating images of myself in my environment that’s dominated by a society obsessed with physical beauty and perfection. I analyse and challenge some of the stereotypes and myths surrounding disabilities developed through years of misrepresentation concerning the body beautiful. Oppression and marginalisation has fuelled my drive to succeed as an artist and as a disability arts practitioner. My pictures are abstract/figurative, visually stimulating and emotionally challenging. Because I have a unique insight into disabled peoples’ lives and a high standard of professional art skills, I have combined this knowledge to develop and coordinate professional disability arts projects, residencies and workshops in art galleries, resource centres and arts centres around the country. Disability art is part of my history and I am part of its history. This is an art movement that has not been recognised by art historians. Disabled artists have yet to be valued and recognised as professional and take their place in art history. But I continue to develop new artwork and contribute to the disability arts movement and I am successful in my field. My work has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally.’

Tanya Raabe 2011 Sophie Morgan Portrait

Disability Arts Movement highlights

Her popular ‘Who’s Who’ and ‘Revealing Culture: Head On’ series’ challenge the notion of portraiture using disability aesthetics and visual language.

These painted portraits depict disabled artists and pioneers of the Disability Arts and Cultural sector and were exhibited nationally, including an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2009: www.tanyaraabe.co.uk/whoswho.html.

Further Reading

Her most recent project is ‘Portraits Untold’, is an ambitious live portrait project exploring and celebrating our common humanity; involving a series of live streamed portrait events in high profile venues including the National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust: www.portraitsuntold.co.uk

Who’S WhO – Defining Faces of an Arts Movement

Who’S WhO is a collection of portraits created by Tanya Raabe-webber Visual Artist. The portraits challenge the notion of portraiture using disability aesthetics and visual language. The portraits are of established and new emerging disabled artists who have and continue to pioneer disability arts and culture in a society that uses perfection, beauty, and normality as a ‘must have’.

Each artist has been chosen because of their influence in shaping disability art as an arts movement in its own right and have in some way shaped the art work of leading disabled artist Tanya Raabe-Webber. Another aspect of the project was Multimedia Portraits which combines the production and working processes of the paintings and drawings in transition with sound, vision and text, hearing each artist talking about their history of art and their working processes. Studio Talks contextualises the subjects juxtaposing their position in a challenging society exploring disability art and culture.

Dr Paul Darke

Artist/Writer/Cultural Critic. Paul is recognised for his frankness about the state of disability arts and for his historical exploration of disability representation in film. Paul has been developing his own artwork using the internet since 2000. www.outside-centre.com “Its guerrilla art from a disability art perspective.”

Portrait of Paul Darke by Tanya Raabe

Mat Fraser

Actor/Performance Artist/Singer/Songwriter/Playwright. Mat is recognised as an actor in the mainstream and for being an ambassador of the representation of disabled people in the media while causing controversial disability arts debate within disability culture, and for being born disabled but not ‘coming out’ as a disabled person until he was in his 30’s. www.matfraser.co.uk

Portrait of Mat Fraser by Tanya Raabe

Colin Hambrook

Painter/Disability Arts Writer . Colin is recognised for his paintings about his experience as a disabled man and mental health system survivor. His paintings are part of the NDACA National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, at Holton Lee. Colin is presently the artistic director of www.disabilityarts.org a contemporary cyber space keeping alive and developing disability arts into the 21st century.

Portrait of Colin Hambrook by Tanya Raabe

Tony Heaton

Sculptor/pioneer of NDACA, National Disability Arts Collection and Archive at Holton Lee.Tony is recognised for being a Sculptor in his own right and for his work at Holton Lee, setting up Faith House art gallery, accessible studio spaces, NDACA and campaigning for disability art to be recognized as an arts movement in its own right.

Portrait of Tony Heaton by Tanya Raabe

Nikki Hewish

Deaf Artist – Installation Artist. Nikki is an emerging deaf artist in the early stages of her career exploring her ideas about the world around her using sculptural material to create installations.

Portrait of Nikki Hewish by Tanya Raabe

Dave King

3D Fantasy Digital Artist. David has a background in science and delves into the realm of 3D computer graphics utilizing the useful metamorphosis of mathematics to produce imagery. “My work intends to deliver the potency of using digital techniques to produce art by using structure and shape to employ techniques of object and anatomical construction”

Portrait of Dave King by Tanya Raabe

Julie McNamara

Singer/Songwriter/Playwright/Raconteur/Activist. Julie is recognized for her amazing stories about her experiences as a disabled woman/mental health system survivor that she has interpreted into performance/plays/songs that have given others the will to live, and for being ‘cured’ of her disabilities by the ‘medical profession’. www.juliemc.com

Portrait of Julie McNamara by Tanya Raabe

Zoe Partington – Sollinger

Installation Artist/Disability Arts Consultant Zoe is recognized for her work in equality training and is emerging as a disabled artist in her own right creating conceptual installations based on her experiences as a disabled woman in a disabling world.

Portrait of Zoe Partington – Sollinger by Tanya Raabe

Allan Sutherland

Writer/Playwright/Performance poet. Allan is recognized for his “love of words”, his radio play ‘Inmates’, and as the author of ‘Disabled We Stand’ a book exploring disability culture and identity that has been a ‘light bulb’ for people to identify them selves as disabled people and for The Edward Lear Foundation an established Disability Arts think-tank on the internet. www.learfoundation.org.uk

Portrait of Allan Sutherland by Tanya Raabe

Who’S WhO exhibition history & portraits

Who’S WhO Exhibition Launch 15th March 2008 – 19th May 2008

Who’S WhO was funded by Arts Council England

Arts Council England logo

Shape London : 12th November 09 – January 31st 2010.

27a Access Artspace: 20th July – 10th September 2009.

Solihull Arts Complex: 25th May – 5th July 2009.

Oriel Wrecsam / Wrexham Arts Centre: 7th March -18th April 2009.

National Portrait Gallery; Meet The Artists: 23rd March 2009.

Qube Gallery Oswestry: 2nd February – 28th February 2009.

The Place Theatre Telford: 18th October – 20th November 2008.

DaDaFest International 08 at the A Foundation Liverpool: 18th August – 7th September 2008.

Beaumont College Arts Festival: 7th – 11th July 2008


All artworks are © Tanya Raabe 2011. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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