Durham Art Gallery: Comtemporary Canadian Art

Intersecting Abilities:

Looking at Art and Disability Differently

Disability gives us unique voices and diverse perspectives, the very core of what we expect art to bring to our lives,

challenging us, individually and collectively, to expand the way we think about the world and the people we share it with. Disability creates a range of often enriching experiences from which artists make work that is interesting, meaningful, and important and that leads to new insights for both the artist and the viewer. Hearing, seeing and understanding the viewpoint of others is how we grow as individuals and how we progress as a society.

Throughout September 2013, artists working in a variety of media visited, performed and exhibited in Durham as part of the Common Pulse Arts & Disability Festival. The festival celebrated the intersection between art and ability and examined alternative approaches to understanding perception and cognition in the practice of artists, particularly artists who address diverse and different abilities and their related experiences.

Hosted by the Durham Art Gallery and organized in collaboration with OCAD University, Common Pulse brought together artists, community groups, researchers and activists to celebrate inclusiveness, accessibility, cultural diversity and artistic excellence.

Common Pulse showcased art and promoted inclusion through exhibitions, artist residencies, multi-disciplinary performances, film presentations and a symposium. The month-long festival engaged visitors through creative workshops, mentorships, artists' talks and educational programs.

The Common Pulse Arts & Disability Festival engaged artists and their practices on their own terms: to contextualize their work in ways that were meaningful to them and illuminating for the viewers, and celebrating and deepen appreciation for different modes of seeing, thinking and being as an artist. It provided an opportunity to appreciate the powerful contributions of individuals who have different experiences and different perspectives on society, life and art.

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