Day 21- Deep sea diving in a wheelchair.

This talk is accompanied by a stunning underwater photograph of Sue Austin diving in her wheelchair, or her ‘portal’ as she calls it. I was sold.  
The artist has been wheelchair bound since suffering from a long illness in 1996. When she first got her wheelchair, she describes how peoples attitudes to her changed. She became invisible, defined by their views of her and living her life in response to these views. Instead of giving in, Austin decided to use her chair as a medium for art, hoping to dispel the stereotypes imposed by society.  
When she learned to dive in 2005, Austin decided she could combine this with her art. She shows the audience a video of her diving in the specially made chair. She tells us when there’s no frame of reference for the wheelchair, people are forced to think about it from a new perspective.  
Novel and inspirational. As Austin states on her website;  
“My studio practice has for some time centred around finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user, opening up profound issues about methods of self-representation and the power of self- narration in challenging the nexus of power and control that created the ‘disabled’ as other.”    


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