Entwining Social Justice with Social Policy: Empathy in our Pandemic Environment
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 | 7 pm – 8 pm
Art + Disability Mini-Symposium in support of the exhibition, Crip Ecologies: Vulnerable Bodies in a Toxic Landscape curated by Amanda Cachia.
This Mini-Symposium is presented by the Art Gallery of Windsor; Tangled Art + Disability; Health Equity and Social Inclusion Interdisciplinary Research Group; School of Disability Studies at X University; and the Disability Studies Program, School of Social Work, University of Windsor.
ASL interpretation and automatic closed-captions will be available during the panel.
Moderated by Sean Lee
Artist participants: Ezra Benus, Hayley Cranberry Small and Alex Dolores Salerno.
COVID-19 has foregrounded a number of ways that ableism is deeply embedded in public policy, and mainstream culture. From eugenic triage protocols, to neglectful long term care homes and inadequate supports for disabled folks, the hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy illuminates the ways disabled people are constantly under attack. In facing the failures of public policy, disabled people have been helping one another survive this pandemic in innovate and caring ways – with disabled mutual aid providing support when none other is given. Artists Ezra Benus, Alex Dolores Salerno and Hayley Cranberry Small explore the nuances of their works to consider how concepts of care, social policy, and social justice are entwined by bringing their intersectional lived experiences navigating a world built without them in mind. Each artist will give a 10-minute presentation on their work by sharing their screen on Zoom, and this will be followed by a Q&A led by Sean Lee, Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability.
Sean Lee is an artist and curator exploring the notion of disability art as the last avant-garde. Orienting towards a “crip horizon”, he is interested in the transformative possibilities of crip community building and accessible curatorial practices that desire the ways disability can disrupt. Sean holds a B.A. in Arts Management and Studio from the University of Toronto, Scarborough and is currently the Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability. In addition to his role at Tangled, Sean is an independent lecturer, speaker, and writer adding his insights and perspectives to conversations surrounding Disability Arts across Canada, the United States and internationally. Sean currently sits on the board of CARFAC Ontario, Creative Users Projects, and is chair of Toronto Art Council’s Visual Arts / Media Arts Committee and a member of the Ontario Art Council’s Deaf and Disability Advisory Group.
Ezra Benus is an artist, educator, and curator whose work addresses a range of themes such as constructions of time, relationships of care, pain as a portal, and the mundaneness of illness. Ezra’s practice is cradled by embedded Jewishness, queerness, and sickness as purviews and navigational tools in this world. Social, political, and spiritual forces collide through reflections on bodily knowledge and social constructions around values of normativity in their art.
Alex Dolores Salerno is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Informed by queer-crip experience, they work to critique standards of productivity, notions of normative embodiment and the commodification of rest. Beds and bedding are some of their primary materials which allow them to explore the bed as a site of care, collectivity and protest, and redefine what is typically considered to count as “work”. Salerno’s practice embraces slowness, and they argue that to celebrate diverse bodyminds requires a reconfiguration of value and time away from capitalist frameworks.
Hayley Cranberry Small is a ceramicist and urban planner based out of New York City. Her work explores themes including the body, the sick/chronically ill experience, and the relationship between humans and their environment. Many of Hayley’s ceramic pieces represent the self abstractly, each work a synecdoche that highlights one part of her identity. Her ceramic depiction of illness is often juxtaposed with the delicate form and flow of each vessel, recognizing the body's natural beauty and imperfections. Hayley is the founder and curator of Lutte Collective, a space for disabled and chronically ill artists.