To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, celebrate disability activism, and to increase visibility of disability communities, the Disability Resource Center presents our annual “Disability Liberation” Art Gallery. Students, faculty, and staff’s art work will be featured on the DRC website and social media platforms from July 27, 2020 through December 2020.
By: Marissa Balbuena
Graphic Design – College of the Arts
1.) I believe it is imperative to recognize the disabilities our elders face on a daily basis. This piece serves as an homage to my childhood and family. Each character is representative of a grandparent that is, or has been, in my life. Each have their own identity and own story to tell.
My grandma has always been stuck in the past, specifically the 1950’s. She lives through memories and she dwells on what could’ve been. Although my grandpa suffered from cancer, he always put family first and focused on giving rather than receiving. My abuelita in the center looks directly at the viewer as she is friendly towards anyone and has always had a positive outlook on life no matter the circumstance. My abuelo hides behind her as I was never really close with him but I know he cared about me in some way.
Every collage element has significance to my life, from birthday cards to handwritten notes to postage stamps. These item I keep everything stored in a memory box I’ve had since forever. Family is an important virtue in my life, and I’ve strived to honor them in this wholesome piece.
2.) Domestic installation inspired by conversations I’ve had with my grandma while she would sit at home in her rocking chair. Fossilizing memories and exploring a deeper meaning in familiar history as my grandma’s mind continues to dwell on the past due to her mental disabilities. Focusing on ephemerality and transience of harboring the past.
3.) Celebrating my late grandfather Romualdo, whose name translates to “honor” and “glory”. Though his battle with cancer rendered him physically disabled, my grandpa was always lively, selfless, naturally charismatic, and extremely loving. The composition includes objects I associate with and a portrait of my grandpa to signify both our impacts in each other’s lives. His simple nature and reserved personality is reflected in me.
Collective care is a root of disability justice and it acknowledges the value and truth of interdependence. The systems in which we live under do not equitably provide care and space for disabled folx, so we must nurture each other. Collective care builds community and fosters the opportunity to heal.
Digital drawing description: green, blue and purple watercolor splotches overlay each other, blending into one another. With pen, continuous windy lines are drawn over the watercolor. These lines form 5 beings. They are close to one another and appear to be resting.
Animals, especially birds, have been a special interest for much of my life. This creature represents the unity between two dissimilar elements: untamed nature and organized human technology. This draws parallels with how individuals must coexist and collaborate with mainstream society without losing their identity.
By: Selina Wagner
Drawing – College of the Arts
I work within a flexible tradition of self-portraiture to de-stigmatize, create conversation, and share experiences about internal processes of the psyche. I aim to make the unseen visible, particularly internal dialogues between different parts of the self.
The practice of separating myself into multiple parts, and personifying these parts through drawing, serve as tools for studying and understanding my own inner trauma, OCD, and anxiety.
After being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos, I was worried I’d never be able to do art again because of the joint pain it caused me. My mother however, encouraged me to keep trying and take it one step at a time. It took me 6 hours over the course of a month, but I was finally able to finish this portrait of her! Thanks for always believing in me, Julia.
While moving out of my childhood home, I came across an old x-ray image from 2009 taken when I was being evaluated for braces. In it, you can see my cochlear implant, radiopaque as day, no change since its placement in 1997.
High school, a time when we begin to establish ourselves, was when I truly began to embrace my hearing loss as a core aspect of my identity and my future. I had always known I wanted to go into medicine, but now I understood that it would require a tremendous amount of self-advocacy and determination.
Here I am, eleven years later, a fourth year medical student, one year from becoming a licensed psychiatrist. My deafness defines me, surrounds me, supports me. I am resilent, I am inspired, I am hopeful. I look forward to a future where the representation of disability in medicine is increased exponentially, where I can encourage others like me along their path to success, and where I can serve as a physician who understands my patients’ lifelong battles with adversity.
A note about the drawing: when quarantine began, I became restless to express myself while still staying socially distanced. I have chosen inspiring (but basic) drawings/paintings from online and put my own twist and color into them. For this one, I combined my x-ray and some anatomically correct clip art. I have a long way to go as an artist, and I look forward to developing this hobby.
“BUT YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE THE TYPE OF PERSON TO HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY”
By: Jeanna Storey
Mechanical Engineering – College of Engineering
This poem is based on my experience of being someone with multiple learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are usually inconspicuous, meaning no one can tell you have them from the outside. In many ways, it is nice to be perceived as “normal” by my peers. However, in my experience, this often prompts people to assume that my brain works in the same way as theirs. Some days it leaves me feeling misunderstood and frustrated when I am labeled with titles such as “lazy” or “unintelligent” because others simply do not understand the barriers I face in school.
In this poem, the meals of the second speaker and the narrator represent our different states of mind. Note: the second speaker is feasting on a nicely arranged and organized plate of food, while the narrator (who represents the voice of someone with one or many learning disabilities) holds a smoothie.
In hopes of creating a mutual understanding and empathy towards people who are neurodiverse, It is my goal that by reading this poem emotions similar to that of the narrator’s are elicited within you.
So often, I find that people don’t understand anxiety, even those with other mental illnesses who at least have a better understanding of an often times silent struggle. The most terrifying question I think I’ve ever been asked is what or where I want to eat. Forget the fact that there are countless places to choose from, I can’t just think about what I want, because that decision affects many other things that could be good, but could also be bad. In every mundane decision I make, there’s a pro/con list in my head and I don’t think people realize that this is how anxiety can affect people. Hopefully sharing this poem, showing the thought process when asked this “simple” question, can help people hear the silent struggle just a little bit louder.
By: Gabriella Martinez
Business Administration – College of Business
I photographed my cousin who has a reading comprehension problem. I wanted to capture her beauty and the struggles she has each day with reading properly. I wanted to depict how sometimes people can judge her for her disability, but her inner beauty shows through and how she handles it is courageous and brave.
DRC Staff: Advancing Access Collage
By: DRC Staff
The Disability Resource Center Staff came together to collectively create this two part collage. Each piece of the collage represents the artist themselves and how they personally connect to the disability community. Together, the DRC staff envisions a universally inclusive community where all individuals are seen as valued and contributing leaders of society.