Eight colour Lightjet prints in black frames (no glass), each 80 x 105cm.
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These digitally manipulated photographic self portraits were made in collaboration with people with congenital physical disabilities. A different disability is superimposed onto each portrait of me in such a way that the composite figure looks convincing. On realising that all portraits have the same identity, one that is independent of the disability, the viewer may begin to question his or her reaction to seeing a disabled body. In questioning the boundaries of what kinds of bodies are considered beautiful and/or acceptable, this work challenges public perception of and attitude towards physical disability.
‘I’ was originally developed in an effort to confront people with their own prejudices and fears on seeing a congenitally disabled, or different, body. As the project evolved I realised that these images are also about our relationship with ourselves: in a metaphorical sense this work represents the feelings of abjection or 'foreignness' everyone experiences at some time in relation to their own body. By superimposing each disability onto one single identity the intention is to permit the gaze of the spectator, but also to interrogate this gaze. The figure(s) look directly out of the image: accusing or challenging the viewer. The ornate setting offers the figures a certain status and historical association.
'I' was made during a residency at Napier University in Edinburgh and was supported by a grant from St. Hugh's Foundation.