What is Disability Arts?
“Disability art, any creative work that explores a disability experience, either in content or in form. Although the term disability art is sometimes restricted to artwork that is intended primarily for audiences with disabilities, many disabled artists create work that is intended for audiences that include both disabled and nondisabled people. Occasionally the term is used to refer to any artwork created by a disabled person, whether referencing disability or not, but that usage is uncommon among members of the disability community. A primary function of disability art has been to articulate for the disability community as well as for the mainstream what disability means—politically, personally, and aesthetically.” (https://www.britannica.com/art/disability-art)
The Canada Council for the Arts defines it as “Disability arts are created by people with disabilities or with mental illness. This includes artistic practices and processes grounded in ensuring that the lived experiences and identities of disabled people are conveyed, explored or represented. This typically means that disabled artists are directors, creators or main contributors to the artistic process.”
Artist Residency Exploring Disability Aesthetics
Interview with Lucas Patuelli Disability Without Poverty
Hi I’m Leanne. I’m a Chronic pain sufferer and neurodivergent artist. I paint and create. I don’t like to limit myself to one style of painting, I’m kind of all over the place but I do have a common theme. My paintings must be colorful. I use mostly acrylic but I will also use other things I can to create art.
I’m different but no one else caught on until after i was well into adulthood. They just thought I was too talkative, not willing to apply myself (work or study hard enough) and that I wasn’t interested in learning. What they couldn’t see was that I was extremely good at masking. Through the years I was diagnosed with (in chronological order) Major Anxiety Disorder, Osteoarthritis, PTSD, IBS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, PCOS, Arnold’s Neralgia, Endometriosis, Barrett’s esophagus and just this past year ADHD.
Most people have no idea that I live with so many conditions. They just think I’m a unique, a bit different and sometimes a drama queen. Those are the moments when I’m feeling quite overwhelmed. Art became my way to cope. I started by painting small clay Christmas houses when i was 20, then I used the same craft paint to make a painting as a gift to my mother. Then I painted almost anything I could. Many years later I decided to try painting more seriously. My first painting was a large dragonfly and I’ve been painting ever since. This creative outlet has helped me alot and gives me a sense of pride because it’s something I can do when I feel there’s so much I can’t do. Thanks to the support of my loving husband, children and family I’m able to create whenever I need to.
I’m Murielle and I don’t think of myself as an artist, but some people seem to think I am so here goes…. I have Spina Bifida, Scoliosis and chronic pain and I use a power wheelchair full-time. I worked in the oil & gas industry for most of my career and just stopped working four years ago. It was difficult to get used to not working outside the home. It was also a rude awakening to discover how poorly people with disabilities lived in this province if they can’t work at all. Through this frustration, I co-founded The New Brunswick Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, and advocacy group for people with all types of disabilities. Through this group, I have been meeting such talented artists such as Ysabelle Vautour, Cass Mazariegos and Leanne Foucault, who have encouraged me to share my art. I do no create to sell, as I have found in the past that this was taking the fun out of creating and making it a job. Something I felt I surely did not need when I already had a full-time job. Perhaps now I would consider. My biggest love was, for a long time, bead embroidery and this is something I tend to go back to. Right now, I concentrate on free-hand embroidery (no pattern). I also like to experiment with watercolours, and I love creating mandalas. Bright colours are a must in anything I create.
Hi my name is Terry. I am a quadriplegic as I had a diving accident back in 2001. Before my accident I was an outgoing teenager playing sports, working and hanging out with friends. One warm summer day all of us decided to go to the beach to celebrate graduation. Little did I know it would be the last time that I would walk. The doctors gave me a one percent chance of living. I beat those odds and spent five weeks in the hospital before being shipped to the rehab centre in Fredericton. Once there I was put on a scheduled day for physio, adaptive seating and a recreation period. This is where I had to figure out what I can do for a hobby or even what I would do with the rest of my life as a quadriplegic. One day I was there and she asked me what I enjoyed doing before my accident. I told her I enjoyed drawing. She then told me about quadriplegics that can draw my mouth. I looked at her shocked not believing her until she went on the Internet and showed me a video of them doing it. And then thought to myself, if they can do it I can do it. I first tried to paint but it didn’t satisfy me. She then found a soft enough pencil that I could control in my mouth to draw against the paper. The first thing I drew was Pluto, it felt like it took me forever to do it when I was finished I couldn’t believe what I do with my mouth. The more practice I got, the better I got. I got good enough that I even won a scholarship to take an art course which help me with shading my drawings. In 2012 I drew a picture for the cauliflower alley club in Las Vegas for the retired WWE wrestlers and family. They were so impressed with the piece that they invited me out to Las Vegas to join them for their reunion. I wasn’t going to let this accident take away the one thing I love, to draw! I took a graphic design course for a challenge on my laptop. Now I can do art related jobs play either pencil or computer. Which has come handy since Covid has come up. Where I have compromised lungs I don’t dare to put the pencil in my mouth in fear that I’ll get sick. So being able to draw still I have something I love to do still.
Hi I am Cheryl, I am an artist and jewellery maker currently living in Saint John. I began creating things roughly 38 years ago, beginning with abstract art, and moving on to beadwork, on to metalwork, then to carving stone and chainmail jewellery. A friend once said to me that the various aspects of my disabilities all worked together into a perfect storm of creativity. I didn’t agree at the time, but in the last ten years, I came to accept myself and all my “features” and embrace them. I am ok with my place in the universe and no longer resentful of my “disabilities”.
Jenna Lyn Albert
Jenna Lyn Albert (she/they | elle/iel) is a queer poet, community organizer, and amateur drag king (Guy Haute-Ween) living on the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik people. Their debut collection of poetry Bec & Call (Nightwood Editions 2018) won the New Brunswick Book Awards’ Fiddlehead Poetry Prize. Jenna served a two-year term as the City of Fredericton’s Poet Laureate from 2019-2020 and is currently working on their sophomore collection of poetry, mal à l’aise
Hi Ysabelle here, I am the artist behind this site I was fortunate to attend a workshop hosted by Artslink NB and Canadian Art Magazine on Arts Writing.
Hi, I am Darren Hanson Anxious Folk Artist extraordinaire living in French Lake New Brunswick. I specialize in making art that is furniture but, I dabble in DIY everything. I grew up in a hardware store, so I’ve gotten to know products and, MacGyvering things pretty well.
I was featured in Grid City Magazine you can read the interview here and you can also see one of my sculptures at Monarch in downtown Fredericton.
Went to college for Veterinary Assistant (2015) and Early Childhood Educator (2021). Loved working with and volunteering for animals and children. I enjoyed volunteering and had volunteered of being a model for photography students and fashion designer students of NBCCD. Worked with and modeled for professional photographers, and modeled for designers for fashion shows like AFW (Atlantic Fashion Week). I have been modeling since 2015. I like doing photography, drawing, digital art, painting as a few of my hobbies. I struggle with many medical conditions, some since a young child and others developed later in life. Born hearing impaired in both ears. Communication disorders, went through many speech therapy as a child, still struggle in some areas of communication and speech. Stuttering, Dyslexia, Dysarthria, other learning disabilities. Suffered from chronic migraines since a child. Asthma. Arthritis. Food sensitivity. Experience and battling PTSD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety. Started having seizures early 2020. Etc. Even with many medical conditions, it never stopped me from enjoying life to the fullest as I can. Hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, riding, rock climbing, yoga, etc. When not out on an adventure, I’ll be home caring for my plants and animals, read a book or manga, bake, paint, etc.
Carol is a fine art photographer. Besides the beautiful scenery found along Fredericton’s walking trails on both sides of the St. John/Wolastoq River and downtown, Carol’s canvas often includes draft horses and large breed dogs. After a day of shooting, she enjoys the process of converting a simple photo into a piece of art. Carol says, “Mother Nature provides the canvas. I help to make it a piece of art.”
In 1952 when Carol was a young child living in Blacks Harbour, NB she contracted paralytic polio. Two years later her family moved to the farming community of Harvey Station, not far from Fredericton where she was able to start her rehabilitation. In spite of braces and crutches, she prided herself on being self-taught and self-sufficient throughout her life – always pursuing her dreams, whether as a statistical researcher with the National Hockey League, an administrator with several NB sport governing bodies, or as family/building historian of her community.
After retiring from NB Tourism, she directed her research skills to becoming an author. Her work includes “Spares & Strikes: History of Candlepin Bowling in NB”, “Devon Remembered” (4 volumes), and most recently her autobiography, “Coming Full Circle: The Diaries of a Polio Survivor”.
Throughout the years, photography has been her constant hobby, with inspiration from dogs and horses, guidance from the YMCA and a local photo studio, plus workshops and critiques from fellow members at the Montreal Camera Club and Photo Fredericton, and most of all, the creativity of her photography and artistic friends.
Carol is now coping with Post Polio Syndrome, and she is confined to an electric wheelchair (indoors) and a three-wheel scooter (outdoors). Because of the very limited usage of her hands, she can handle only a small camera with a tilt screen. Therefore, the tools of her trade are a Nikon point-shoot camera, several photo editing programs, her scooter, and her many outings that she calls “Scoot & Shoot”.
Over the past few years Carol’s photography has been featured in several exhibits and sales as well as in Fredericton’s downtown restaurants and City Hall Gallery. Recently she had a solo show at the Grand Manan Art Gallery entitled “ArtAbility: The Seated Perspective”. Carol has also addressed the city’s tourism market by applying her photos to several forms of souvenirs (post cards, coasters, magnets, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, etc.) that she sells to numerous businesses under the name of Fredericton Keepsakes.
Hello my name is Cass. The day I almost died was actually the day I started living. At the age of 22 I suffered a stroke. It left me with many deficits. A few of the most frustrating ones is ataxia and my nystagmus. Which makes my vision shaky.
My fine moter skills aren’t the best, it’s very difficult for my fingers to hold onto small objects. I have been looking for an exercise that would help my ataxia, then after hosting a paint and sip I discovered how fun and therapeutic painting was! It helps greatly with my fine motor skills, coordination, balance, vision, & even overall brain health. There was so many cool techniques that somebody with even my level of ability could do! I’m a perfectionist, so I end up trying really hard to make a painting turn out good. In turn I create works of art at the same time!
I am a recent graduate of NBCCD Craft College with a Foundation in Visual Arts.
Hey I’m Ryan, I started selling my art in 2020 and sold around 38 canvases a handful
of prints as well as posters. I’ve donated to charities. Stray Cat Rescue in Sussex.
Glaucoma research. As well as a few fundraisers one of which helped a coworker
with a headstone after the unexpected loss of her son.
I’ve created artwork for a friend who passed away for his family. I made a
I’ve gifted a few pieces one to Adica Massage , one to Medicine Man.
Donated one to a friends Church in St Stephen for their fundraiser.
I’m just a self taught visually impaired Artist showing people to chase their dreams
and to not let a disease or illness hold them back and to always push forward
believe in yourself and just have fun with it.
A Girl and Her Mic
Hi, I’m Kyra Goguen. Marketer by day artist by night. I’ve been painting on an off since I was a teenager. I started with Acrylics and in university, while I did not have time to paint did I get my minor in Art History. Years later after attending a workshop hosted by Sophie LeBlanc Art, my love of painting was rekindled. What I love the most about watercolour is that the medium forces you to let go and not be a perfectionist. it has a mind of its own, and therapeutically force me to “go with the flow” (pun intended). I’m drawn to florals and fauna, and occasionally landscapes. I’m also inspired by vintage floral paintings like those found in Victorian botany textbooks. I’m also a voice actress. I’ve narrated telephone prompts, e-learning modules, descriptive video and promotional videos for Medavie Blue Cross, Accessible Media Inc. as well as the Greater Moncton International Airport.
Hi I am Laurianne, I am Ysabelle’s cool mom. haha! Art has really brought our family together.
Working in Oils at a young age and later Acrylics, Papier Mache, Quilting, Watercolor and Embroidery.
I had the chance to curate a couple shows of Ysabelle and the Collective art shows in the past few years.
Lately, I have been loving working with mixed-media collage.
I have shown my work at RB Studio Gallery, The Playhouse and Charlotte Glenncross Gallery in Fredericton.
In have participated in the Issac’s Way Art Auction and I have been in an eco-art group project called From Harm to Harmony.
In October 2022 I have my first solo art show at the Pattes de mouche gallery in Grand Barachois.