The Bodyparts exhibition at the Asia House Gallery will feature artworks created by some of the UK’s leading disabled artists to interpret societal perceptions of disability. Works by artists such as Tony Heaton OBE, Gemma Nash, Ellie Niblock and James Lake will be on display from 2-5 July in a variety of media including sculpture, immersive film and a sound installation.
Based on research undertaken by Bournemouth University and the University of Bath, the artists’ commissions were inspired by the voices of the general public in response to the television coverage of the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games.
The exhibition was led by Professor Emma Rich at the University of Bath, who says: "As a research team, we have been fortunate to work with such creative artists who have produced work which both captures the way in which societal perceptions of disability have progressed, but also prompts us to think about continued issues of inequality and social justice. This exciting collection of work, includes a range of different media so as to ensure people visiting the exhibition have an immersive and affective experience using difference senses to explore disability."
Professor Michael Silk from Bournemouth University who led the PASCCAL (Paralympics, Social Change and Cultural Legacy) research project that the artworks are based on, said: “Bodyparts provides a window into societal perceptions of disability in our present day; some of the realities for people living with disabilities and some of the future challenges and possibilities to ensure people with disabilities can participate fully in everyday life.
“In our research, we undertook a large number of focus groups across England and Wales, generating over 1000 hours of data. We were interested in the publics' responses to the Paralympic coverage, especially with respect to how the increased coverage of people with disabilities had influenced societal attitudes towards disability and whether this had influenced the quality of life for people with disabilities.”
The award winning coverage of the Paralympic Games by Channel 4 in 2012 and 2016 has been hailed as a major factor in promoting the public visibility of disabled people. Tony Heaton, whose work is being exhibited, is an award-winning artist whose ‘Monument to the Unintended Performer’ sculpture was displayed outside Channel 4’s Horseferry Road headquarters during the Paralympic Games in 2012.
Professor Silk added: “People should visit the exhibition to see how far we have come as a society with regard to attitudes towards disability. Visitors will learn the pivotal role of the Paralympics and of Paralympic coverage in influencing such understanding and with respect to shifting attitudes towards disability.”
Curator Kerrie O’ Connell has described bodyparts as “an exhibition exploring artist’s responses to the cultural legacy of the Paralympics and public attitudes towards disability."
The exhibition will be open from 10am – 5pm on Tuesday 2nd July and then 10am – 6pm on Wednesday 3rd – Friday 5th July at the Asia House Gallery, 63 New Cavendish Street London W1G 7LP.