the-beggars-1568-300x300Wikipedia tells us "The Beggars also known as 'Cripples' is an oil-on-panel by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. ... Modern eyes may be inclined to conclude that Brugel intended to invoke sympathy for the plight of the crippled figures, but from a historical perspective this is unlikely. Europeans of Bruegel’s time gave little regard to beggars, and the painting provides hints that Bruegel shared this denigration: the figures are outside the town walls and are posed in such ways as to provoke contempt and amusement."

This "description" of the painting is an example of how little research work there has been done on how the  visual arts (drawing, photography, painting, sculptures) investigate, reflect and render people’s experiences of disability and disablement.

I am just nibbling at the edges of this, but my exploration of this theme is more than just finding the “good, bad and ugly” in the visual aesthetics of disability. It’s also about how stories of disability have historically been imagined, and then re-imagined through drawing, painting, sculpture, installations, photography and other visual documentation processes.

Pieter Bruegel: The Beggars, 1568