Continuing on the subject of art and disability, I found this site today via Wheelchair Dancer. Riva Lehrer is an artist who draws and paints what appears to be mostly disability themed portraits. Her gallery is an interesting portrayal of a community of people she obviously loves very much, but although I think it's valuable to have someone out there making these pictures, this isn't what I want to do.
This picture, for example, shows a woman who is an amputee swimming with an otter (or seal?). It says a lot of things about the social and psychological consequences of disability but much less about the immediate physical experience. Maybe my problem is just that my experience of disability has nothing to do with other people seeing me a certain way, or with anything visible at all. My experience of disability is almost completely opposite; my body has betrayed me in the most subtle and subjective ways possible, so that I look completely normal when nothing is right.
What I want from art is a path to expressing all the things that aren't obvious. Not that there's anything wrong with expressing things that are obvious, or more accurately things that should be obvious but are still mistaken all the time. It's just that the struggle that I have isn't convincing people that I'm still human in spite of differences in appearance, it's convincing them that although I look the same, my knowledge of life is different because everything I see is stained with pain. Unfortunately, I am not convinced that this message is one that it's possible to convey. Pain is such an oddly hard concept to grasp.