Stairs / Stares consists of multiple black and white photocopies of a photograph of myself wearing my leg braces. I used those images to compete with the large concrete steps in a walk to talk about (in)accessibility.
My piece titled “Stairs///Stares” intervenes in a public parking garage located between the public library and the market street plaza in Brantford, Ontario.
Many able-body people use this site everyday to get from one part of the city to another and there are ramps and elevators for differently-abled people to use as well. I chose this location because of its grandeur. The concrete and steel bars reminded me metaphorically of trying to navigate and implement changes to the government system and not being able to. By choosing a structure that is hard and non-pliable seemed to poetically emphasize my response to accessibility laws in Ontario, which are just now starting to be accommodating.
By using Xeroxed images on bond paper and wheat pasting them to the concrete walls and stairs instead of a coloured photograph or a painting I had hoped to come across as one of the many, someone who works and survives in the city taking the gritty with the golden. Someone just expressing her story.
The photographs I choose to show as documentation hold a subtle tension between the obtrusive structure and the blue sky. This is the battle, which I tried to portray. The subliminal juxtaposition of that sense of optimism in the blue sky, as if saying “reach for the sky” and yet for 1 in 7 individuals who lives with a disability see the concrete contraption only performing as an obstacle.
A new by-law called 368/13 will be implemented in Ontario for extensive building renovations and new buildings starting in January 2015. Now the government sees the need for accessibility and is offering resources such as visual fire alarms/smoke detectors for the deaf, power operated doors as well as “barrier-free” to public bathrooms, recreation centers, places of worship, and lecture halls to name a few. This by-law offers more to disabled people by opening up their experiences of their city and in turn the city gains their business and expertise. For me this assignment is only the beginning, I see this project being posted more frequently in Brantford and the city of Toronto as well as in a larger scale.
Ankle Foot Orthotics, commonly short formed as AFO's is a device used to help people of disability. Elements of the scene are the body and the lens, a mirror and my nude body and my leg brace.
A major inspiration for this work was artist Francesca Woodman.
Ties That Bind
The male domination in the business world leave little avenues for women to be successful and sometimes if she does make it to the top she is called names behind her back.
Mediums I used for this project were, magazine clipping, acrylic gel medium, glue and tape.