CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - Working to highlight the differences in others and look at disabilities in a new way. an exhibit at the Krannert Art Museum on the University of Illinois campus is working to do just that, showing life through the artists impacted.
The exhibition’s curator, Liza Sylvestre, said she’s been working on the project for several years and it's is a passion project close to her heart.
"i am an artist with a disability in the art world and I am really aware of the positives and negatives of how disability is being taken up and engaged with in the art world right now," she said.
The exhibition refers to “crip theory,” which considers not just disability, but also race, sexual identity, class and educational status, and how those identities connect and overlap.
"We have this compulsion as a society to achieve a status of normal and normal isn't serving everyone," Sylvestre said.
She said the exhibit shows expression through the eyes of those who not only have different disabilities, but also overlapping struggles within their own communities.
"i really wanted to choose artists who are making work that draws on their rich lived experiences of multiple identities, but does not reduce them in a very simplified imaging," she said.
This gives visitors a small chance to walk in the shoes of leaders while addressing ways to increase accessibility.
"Disability and identity and intersectionality is really complicated and that there's a lot of incredibly rich content that can be and should be adapted into many different things," Sylvestre said.
The exhibit is offering a critique of demands of public spaces.
Sylvestre created audio descriptions for every work of art with the artists, recorded them and linked each to a QR code. This allows visitors to listen with their smartphone while in the gallery. Braille labels, produced with assistance from the division of disability resources and educational services, are placed throughout the gallery as well.
Through this approach, Sylvestre said she hopes to model exhibition practices that are inclusive for a wider range of visitors. The exhibition will be on display through Dec. 11.