I was recently asked by a friend to enter work in a group show, the show is based loosely upon the theme of disability. Given my friend had fashioned a lavishly eccentric wheelchair as the centerpiece of the show, I figured I had some creative wiggle room.
My interest was in exploring the very notion of disability and society’s need to “fix” the disabled. This I felt to be a touchy subject, one in which I hadn’t any authority to assert as I am not disabled. I do have a very dear friend who spent much of her life with a disability which later in her life was rectified by surgical procedures. But from listening to my friend I gathered the stigmatization of her condition and the (over? ) protective concern her parents felt for her, imposed limitations ,physical and emotional, far beyond the constraints of her actual condition.
In this image I wished to depict the disabled as a beautiful youth who lacked the conventional wings of his society. I also wanted to express the complexities of society by using harpy like figures, uncomfortable, a bit haughty, awkwardly watching as he falters. I have found myself in this position, it has only been with maturity that I have found the will to greet a wheelchair bound person in the eye. That is a sad fact.
In this image the youth does stumble, his prosthetic feathers have done him little good. Has our attempt to fix him only broken him?
I haven’t clarified all of my thoughts concerning this image or the topic, it is still evolving. Please consider Icarus to be an evolving discussion within my head.
watercolor and gouache on paper
18 by 24 inches
detail of Icarus and his soul-spirit
detail of Society
Of course it isn’t much of a stretch to consider Icarus to be an allegory of other folks that make society squirm, gays, women, people of color, the list goes on an on.
Note to self : stop pigeon-holing.
Until next time, take care,