Heist eGallery is an online art gallery. It’s run by Arts Access Victoria. Heist gives artists with a disability a space to exhibit their work. The website was started with a Victorian government grant. The artwork on Heist is full of color and beauty. It also stirs the imagination and awakens new ideas. Heist has different exhibits with thought-provoking themes. The current exhibition is Disclosure. It examines the relationship between disability, identity and creativity. The exhibition features a diverse range of artists. They use sculptures, paintings and drawings to intrigue and surprise their audience.
The Australia Council for the Arts is our national arts funding and advisory body. They have a new Artists with Disability Program. Individuals and groups can apply for funding. Morwenna Collett is the Australia Council’s Disability Coordinator. She hopes many people will apply for the program. A lot of high quality applications might mean it continues beyond 2014. Morwenna is sure the program will fund good art. Information sessions about the Artists with Disability Program will be held around the country. Details can be found on the Australia Council website.
Andrew Follows is a man who has a guide dog in one hand and a camera in the other. He does not let vision impairment stand in the way of taking photos. When Andrew wanted to take a photo course it was seen to be a joke. Andrew has since shown others that you can take photos even if you can’t see. Some scratch their heads to see a man with a guide dog taking photos. Andrew has shown his pictures in art galleries. He has trained others with vision impairment to use a camera. He really enjoys what he does.
The written word can aid in healing. Self-help books offer advice on living with disabilities. Memoirs help people relate to those who have illnesses. Novels can distract the reader from their health concerns as well as offer insights into disabilities. A reference book called The Novel Cure offers an A to Z of literary remedies. Apart from reading, writing therapy can also aid healing.
Audio description allows a person with a vision impairment to follow the action in the film. After a film is made, a professional narrator records a description of what is happening on the screen. The narration is added to the film and can be heard by a person using a radio and headset in the cinema. If there is a fight or a love scene, a good describer tells the listener exactly what is happening. For example, Jack punches Fred in the chest. Cinema chains are setting up more screens with the special equipment needed for audio description. But there is still a fair way to go before every movie has audio description.
The Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra is a Melbourne band. Its members Jess, Anthea and Tim all have disabilities. They play original music and other peoples’ music. They sing about love, sex, death, disability and British mythology. The band has a song called ‘Welcome’. It is about the more challenging and personal aspects of living with a disability. The band hopes it can educate the public. The band won an award for the music video of the song.