Past Event

A Conversation on Art, Disability, and the Body with Riva L. and Sandie Y.



Hello! We will wait a few more moments will everyone continues to join. Thankyou for joining us! We will give it one more 30 second round, I see more peopleare joining. Thank you for joining us!

I will go ahead and get started. Welcome and thank you for joining us for ourDisability Power Series featuring Riva Hehrer and Sandie Yi. This is resetspeaking, the director of civic engagement and marketing for Disability Lead.

My pronouns are she/her's, and an image description about me, I am a brownwoman with dark brown long curly darkish curly hair. I'm wearing a greensweater and a chunky pearl necklace.

My virtual background is just a pretty neutral screen. We have keyaccessibility features in Zoom today. We have CART, ASL interpreters, and aSpanish translation available. If you have any challenges accessing thesefeatures, please connect with us in the chat box and they can all be selectedfrom the bottom menu in your screen.

Thank you for joining, again, including so many of our Disability Lead members.And of course those I have donated to support the accessibility of thisprogram. Also – for those of you who have been waiting like we have been forsix months.

If you are a person with a disability living in the Chicago region, and areinterested in joining our community, I invite you to to become a member or if you are interested in becominga fellow, this application will be opening over the summer for 2023.

Cannot believe I just said that! 2023. All participants today are in attendeemode only. We encourage you to engage with us, and follow along with us onsocial media. Using the hashtag and handles that are on the screen. Including@WeAreDisLead, and #PowerInfluenceChange and we have questions from you, and inadvance are great questions.

We will open the Q&A feature halfway through the program, I will takequestions from the Q&A feature. Feel free to use that Q&A feature tosubmit any additional questions you might have. With that – I'm thrilled togo off camera and invite Sandie Yi on camera will be sharing her phenomenalwork with us. Today, we will be looking at Sandie Yi's work and Riva Hehrer'swork, and each of them will have seven to eight minutes to present their work.

Then we will come back to three of us with the conversation together, andagain, we will turn it over to your questions. I will say that Reva is runninga few mins late but she hopes she can join us by the time Sandie Yi is donewith her presentation. Sandie Yi, if you are with us please come on video.Thank you! I will turn off mine.

Hello, everyone! I go by she/her, and an image description of myself would beI'm a Taiwanese with light, tanned/sometimes people say olive skin tone, andlong black hair, in the back and I have some plants and a little wheelchair, atoy sized wheelchair in the back.

On the slides I have two images of my work. This was called refused, there is adash. Having a conversation with myself, what did the medical intervention meanto me when I was born, my fingers were fused together. I had operations.

I have always wanted to do something about my scars. In this piece, I put myarms – my arms, my wrists resting on top of each other, and I have atailor-made plastic base, and latex handpiece that I am wearing in thispicture.

I am also in a brief, like underwear, with two big white framed cutoutsfeaturing the scars that I have on my pelvic bone.

The second picture kind of shows the view from the side, where I have my handskind of propped back. Holding my waist. You can see more stitches on there.

In this piece I was truly thinking about – is the medical model all bad? So,back then, I did not have a lot of knowledge from Disabilities Studies. Theconversation was always within myself, like, "Well, it helped me to gainfiner motor skills."

It is complicated because often times people focus on, like, what's wrong withyou? How do we fix you? How do we help you? In this piece, I was reallyloves... Having a dialogue with myself. And thinking about what it means to notlive like, either a medical or social model.

In this picture, a Caucasian model rests both of her hands on her hips. Shewears a coral coloured skirt and a beige bandu which is a piece of fabric thatcovers the breast area. A part of the white L-shaped wrist braces cradles herwrists. Which naturally curve inwards. Her fingers curve, and rested gentlynext to each other.

The L-shaped braces have a heart surface that was organic, weighty, edges closeto the model hand. The forearms are cupped, with soft fabric embroidered withclusters of white and pink French knots. These are the stitches I made.

In this piece, I work with a dear friend who is a disabled painter, SamaraTaylor, and we were talking about what it means to redefine what is normal,what is healthy, what is beautiful for us. Next.

In this picture, I have four images that are all close-up pictures showing youthe details of the braces that I created. So, having a conversation about...what were the things that medical professions wanted you to do, or the thingsthat people believe that should be normal that was done to you? In Sammy'scase, she had to wear braces to straighten her wrist.

In the conversation I had with her was like, "What would be the most comfortableposition that you would rather be in with your wrist?" And she said"L-shaped." I created this piece to hold our stories and also holdher desire to be in her own body. Next piece, please.

So, there are three panels, each contains transparent silky fabric. The shapeof the sacks very organically, they are tiny pieces of human skin flakes insideeach of the sacks and embroidered with red, salmon colours, and white threads.

In my work, I often focus on the narrative that my disabled siblings and Ihave, and in this piece I work with disability rights activist, Ronnie Patrick,RAHNEE and Patrick, so, we share a connection based on – you know, she wasthe first Asian American with disabilities that I know of.

So, for me, it was like "Wow! I finally found my family." On top ofthat, we talk about how our bodies are shaped because our disability,particularly our fingers and toes, and I work as a personal assistant forRahnee and I want to explain I am in Chicago Loop, so the train is going passedby me. It may be covering some of my voice.

If I did not make myself clear, I would be happy to provide more explanation'slater back to this piece – Rahnie and Akamai worked for her as a personalassistant from time to time. In her experience is she – her skin froze 100times faster than average people.

During our care sessions, the interactions I had with her may look like, oh,it's like caring for one another in terms of dressing, and getting ready forlotion, and stuff like that.

But for us, this connection between crip siblings, crip sisters, is aboutcreating a space where we can hold the existence of our bodies. Next slide.

You can see a detailed – you can see a detailed picture of the skin flakesinside of the sacks and some of the flakes appear to be more like yellowish,and the sacks looked like a white cloud and there are several pieces in thisimage.

The last image I have for you are to images featuring the same piece. They arestrips of olive green felt fabric, and one of them – they gather diagonally,on a white surface. Each of them were cut with hand shapes modelled after mytwo finger hands. Each strip ends with large two finger hands, and there aresmaller to finger hands which are cut randomly on the sides.

I worked with Sins Invalid on this piece called kelp help, and I would be happyto tell you more about it when we go into conversations with Risa and Riva.Thank you!

Thank you so much for sharing your art with us. It is so powerful. I cannotwait to get into more conversation with you, but at this time, Riva you arehere. Please come off of mute. And introduce yourself, and you should describeyour art with us.

Hi, everyone. Forgive me for being late it's been a very crip day. Many, manybody issues. Anyway... in very happy to be here with Sandie, Chicago isincredibly lucky she decided to stay here.

And listening to her talk about her work, I realize that besides a deep concernwith the body, and was trying to figure out what we found beautiful, in therealm of things we were told are the very definition of the un beautiful.

We also share a real commitment to intimacy. Mine is my way of doing that, thatis different than what Sandie does, hers is much more tactile immediately.

I am sorry. I should have described myself. I am a short, disabled woman who iscurrently 63. I am white, I have very white hair, streaked with a bright red.Which is chosen red, I am a chosen redhead. I am wearing a black shirt, abuttoned up black shirt with hoop earrings, and inside of the hoop earrings,I'm sorry.

You may not be able to see little hands I wore in honour of Sandie. They arenot as beautifully shaped as hers but it is my -- homage to her.

People call me a portrait artist, I figured out when I... I'm an artist tryingto figure out embodiment through the medium of portraiture. I am sorry, Iswallowed the wrong way a couple of minutes ago and I have to mute myself asecond to cough really hard. I will be immediately back.

Hopefully that will help. And not just dislodge any remaining tonsils.

So, I'm an artist who is trying to understand embodiment through theportraiture. And through making portraiture specifically ethically structuredform of engagement that shows how we are treated as disabled, or queer people,or anyone continually told they are other.

My deep interest is rooted in disability, what I have come to also understandwhat I really am concerned with is stigma. At how people live under stigma.When I first started doing portraits, in 1997, up until then... I hated beingdisabled. I was totally ashamed.

I write about – I have a book out, I will show you later. In the book I readabout the fact that for years, I would walk around with my glasses off and justto show you what my prescription is like, I am holding my glasses up to thelens and you can see they are very distorting. It is a thick prescription. Iwalk around without my glasses on so I could not see myself because I was sohorrified but even seeing myself in a shop window, I could not even endure it.

I had a great luck in 97 to be pulled in something called the Chicago DisabledArtist Collective, that was included by many other artists, Susan who is theone who dragged me in, Alana Wallace, (Unknown Name), Deaf carpenter, BillShannon, I'm sure I'm blanking. It was quite remarkable group of people.

What I'm guessing Sandie would resonate with, besides telling me there was artabout disability and humour, and you could dress snappy, which they did, whichI loved. What they really gave me was analysis. Up until that point – I thinkthis is something a lot of disabled people deal with.

We are just swimming in our life. We are being flooded by all these terriblemessages, and ways that we are treated, and boatloads of shame, you know? Weare just kind of in it trying to survive it.

Until – at least for me – until you find people who can help you back upand look at what's really going on here, what's happening politically, andhistorically, and aesthetically, so you can take the crap of your life and geta hold of it, and take it apart.

And see what the forces are behind how you have been raised, how you have beentreated, so, that's what they did for me.

So, when I started doing portraits... one of the things I realized in thecollective is the one thing that really bound us all together, whatever ourimpairment was, as soon as it became, you know, if we were visibly disabled orhad a performative disability that would suddenly make itself known, as soon aswe were identifiably disabled, we would get stared at. We would get comments,but we would get stared at.

I mean, everyone all of a sudden was trying to diagnosis. And asking questionsexplicitly, asking the diagnosis.

So, when I decided to ask people to sit for me, I realized they were going tobe carrying this hard, hard history of being stared at, looked at in a way thathurts. Right? It hurt. So no, what? I will make them sit in a room and make mestare at them? The way I come up with an acceptable method, or help would beacceptable, I immediately started giving people power over how they were goingto be represented.

I interviewed people for a long time. I disclosed a lot of stuff about myself.So, it was not a one way street. We worked on little thumbnails, taken from thestories they have told me. I would show them the thumbnail, a little sketch,and say, "Does this seem truthful for you? Would you like to be seen likethis?" And finally the person would come and sit for me.

For me, the studio is intensely intimate. Nobody else is allowed in when we areworking together. I have done a couple of public studios but they are verycontrolled. When people are allowed to come in. And I never ask anybody to doanything they are uncomfortable with.

Right now on the screen is a large charcoal black and white drawing of someonewho many of you may be familiar with, a woman named Nomy Lamm, Nomy Lamm, I mether originally in Chicago, she was here studying an alternative Jewish artstyle, and she has gone off to Oakland and is the artistic Director of SinsInvalid. That Sandie mentioned.

When I met her, she was mainly a singer, a performance artist and a singer. So,each story behind – the story behind each piece is a long, and intense...there is text on my website, and in my book, my book exists both as a physicalhardback, paperback, audiobook, and e-book. In the audiobook, we have audiodescriptions of each piece. So, for anyone who has low or no vision, you canexperience this, you know, in a fully described form.

But in this piece, Nomy Lamm is suspended in water. She is wearing a swimsuit.She is a white woman who is – I will say fat because she is a fat activist.Her pigtails or floating up towards the surface. Her mouth is open. She is gesturingwith her hands. And a swimming with her, upside down, is a large leopard seal.

There are air bubbles coming from the seals mouth and blending with the bubblescoming from Nomy Lamm's mouth, because we were talking about how in ourimagination we have images, and heroes, and objects that when we are really,like not sideways, we can turn to those things to help us remember who we are.

So, if anyone looks towards this, on the right-hand corner of the image, youwill see that Nomy has taken off her prosthetic leg and is swimming with thesock amputees wear between the prosthetic and their flesh. It makes the wholekinetic shape. It is one of my favourite drawings. Next.

This is from the same series called Totems and Familiars and this is a large drawingof Lynn Manning who was a Black man who grew up in the Watts area of LosAngeles. He originally was a sculptor.

He was shot and blinded in a bizarre attack. When he was in his, I believe late20s. After he lost his vision, he reinvented himself. That is what we do. Thatis what being disabled is so much about. Constant reinvention, constantlearning that you cannot hold on to the old ways of doing things.

There are always temporary things. His reinvention was spectacular. He becamethe blind judo champion, several years running in the Paralympics. He thenbecame – became a painter, but most primarily he became an actor and a poetwhose work was... powerful does not do it justice. He founded the Watts VillageFounder, so he became just... tremendously influential, and again, you know,been kind enough to sit for me.

I do want to say one extra thing about this piece. I mentioned we would workfrom little sketches, people would tell me stories, and I would do versions ofthem. And to show them and we would alter them.

Because he had no vision, I could not do that. My work is always based inethics. So, what I decided, what we came up with was that I would – once hewent back to LA, and I continued working on his portrait, that I would sendphotos to LA, via email, to his email.

He would show them to his wife and friends who would tell him what they looklike, they would discuss it, and tell me whether or not he thought that perhapssomething should change.

We came up with an alternate method, at first I was like, "How can I dothis if I cannot show my collaborator the working materials?" But wefigured it out. In this image, Lynn is shirtless, although he was wearingpants.

It is a two-part strong. In the lower drawing, he is holding up his white cane.Right down the middle of his face. On his skin, first off you can see hisbeautiful, musculature. You can also see these gorgeous stripes that arestretch marks, like, pregnant women get. Pregnant women get them because theskin stretches past the point of stability. And it starts to have these littlemicro ruptures.

Same thing, apparently, it happened to weightlifters. People who are extremelymuscular. For Lynn it is like he is a tiger. He has these beautiful, just kindof contour stripes running down his arms. Next.

That was from 2009.

Forgive me, I do not remember how many slides I have. Go a little faster. Thisis a self-portrait from 2016. It is called 66 Degrees which has to do with theangle of my scoliosis which I never say, but it is us together. I will tell youguys. I never say this to mainstream audiences.

66° with the angle of my scoliosis that year. When they measured me. I amstanding nude to the waist in a green pond at night, my arms are raised likeI'm going to fly away up and behind me.

There are streams of water pouring all around me. I am painted in Caucasianflesh tones with my red and white hair, the pond is luminous green and drapedaround my body is a gold evening gown which is floating partly on the water andcoming apart in the water. Next slide.

OK. When the pandemic hit, you will be unsurprised to hear... I could not haveanybody in my studio anymore, I could not do that physical intimacy, I havepretty intense vulnerabilities, to get COVID it would be extremely dangerous.

So, I flailed for a few weeks, oh my gosh, this is the end of my career. Ithought, no, I will start drawing people over Zoom. So, I started asking peopleto sit for me where I could see them in my laptop.

And the first person that I wanted to work with was our spectacular sister, --Alice Wong. She is an Asian-American, I think Chinese-American activist basedin the Bay Area. She is one of our most public voices for disability rights,and everything. Justice, culture, medical justice, she is ferocious andbrilliant. She is the one that came up with that book, oh my God – you willknow the title, I am old and loose words.

It is disability visibility.

A huge thank you. A lot of prominent essays by emerging disability writers. Wesat for six weeks on and off online. I got to know her much better. In thisimage, she is drawn on translucent plastic mylar to give a bit of the feelingof the surface of a laptop.

In this image, she has pale golden skin, stark black hair, pulled back in aponytail. There is a line drawing on the back of her wheelchair behind her. Sheis wearing her BIPAP which gives to her oxygen support. That comes off theside. I love drawing that.

The translucence and elegance of that form, it was wonderful. It is thatdisability beauty thing. I just thought it was gorgeous. She is wearing a blackand white tracksuit where the white stripes of the tracksuit play with thecurve of her wheelchair, and her BIPAP.

And at the bottom, you cannot see it, but there is handwritten notes about ourexchanges and there is a line drawing of her apartment right behind her.

Alice has been done in full colour and everything else is in black and white. Ithink that is my last slide! I hope.

It was, that was such a phenomenal sharing of your incredible work. At thistime, I'm going to invite Sandie Yi to come join us on screen. As we do alittle bit of a conversation, and reminder to our audience, thank you forsending such powerful remarks in the chat.

If you have any questions, please drop them in the Q&A for our wonderfulspeakers today. And I think Robin, just a little housekeeping notes – I thinkRobin will be dropping that in chat a reminder that there is captioning, ASLinterpretation, and Spanish interpretation available.

If you have any questions about this, please chat us.

With that – I will ask Sandie Yi and Riva a question about power. We alwaysstart our conversations together talking about power. The power series. This isthe Disability Power Series.

I think you both do it quite powerfully, and I know I'm saying power a lot, bycontrolling and challenging the narrative around disability as you both shared.In talking about your art through your art. Why is it important to claim power?How do we claim power? Especially for those of us that experienced marginalizedidentities. Sandie?

Sure, this is Sandie Yi speaking. So, when I create art, I actually did notconsider myself like, oh, I have power.

I think it is only something that I think or reflect on later. You know, theidea of power – it does not mean you always have to feel like strong, andpositive, and optimistic about things.

But I think I do define, like, the energy, or maybe power, the energy that Iget to create when I share conversations with my disabled siblings. That energyis something that keeps me going. So, maybe it is a form of power.

For me, I think about... the relationship that we get to build together. Withone another. It is the core value and the strength that I feel like I am luckyto, in a way, inherited from my disability community.

To be honest, I do not think in terms of power. My mind always goes to morepolitical things. Things that create sort of immediate structural change. Notthat art does not.

I mean, I work a lot with museums, and granting organizations, and residencies,and stuff last for years. To get them to be aware of the needs of artists withdisabilities, if they are going to invite them in. They need to understand thecontext.

I think that's the place where I feel like I'm the most, sort of directlypowerful, for instance, years ago I worked with the NEA, the first time Iworked with them I was talking to them about the problem of grant applications.

For artists, a lot of times when you apply for a grant they will say,"Please apply with your last two years of work." Or last four yearsof work. And for many of us, that is ridiculous. Because we might have a veryproductive year, and a couple of years where we are really not well, were inand out of the hospital or something, and we start picking up our practice upagain.

For someone who has been able bodied and able to be productive all those fouryears, we are not going to look very impressive. So, that was one immediatechange that I was able to do in several, you know, major grants for them to...really reconsider the timeline, the time parameters for work.

But I think... power. Here's a problem: (Laughs) I am so contrary. I have beendoing book launch, or book event since October 2020 when my book came out. Theabled bodied world really wants to see me as powerful. As someone who's like,overcome, and a survivor, and "We do not know how you do it!" And Iget very irritated.

Because I want to think about aesthetics, and intimacy, and trust, and findingin yourself... those delicate places where honesty comes from. And risk.

And so, when I feel it and being as a Joan of Arc or something, the secret Jew,(Laughs) It makes me crazy. It disturbs me.

It's a hard thing to answer. I want to make change, I want to make structuralchange, but in the studio what I'm doing in the studio is not about that. WhatI do outside the studio as an advisor or a public speaker, closer to that.

I appreciate the challenge and the concept of power. I think of someone who isdisabled myself, the power I see between the two of you, and I hope you arenoticing in the chat, how many people are saying, you are some of the mostadmired artists in Chicago.

I cannot see the chat.

I will read it to you and send it to you after the event. Complements to youand your work today, really appreciating the value of sharing the collectivedisabled story. I want to ask about the connection between both of you and yourwork. I see your work being so connected, between your studio work, between'Golem Girl', and Sandie Yi in the pieces you shared with us today.

You are both educators and activists, as well, your understanding of thedisability experience, I feel like mirrors each other in some anyways. It isunique. We all have our own stories, as well. How do you see each other's workparalleling and diverging from each other?

I know you are longtime friends, as well. So I am really curious how you seeyour work being connected to one another.

Will you take that?

Sure! So, I met Riva back in 2006 at a disability arts and culture festival.Organized by bodies of work, network of disability arts and culture.

It did not know disabled artists specifically. And during the festival, I cameout as a disabled person and the experience was very much like what Rivadescribed earlier when she was showing her work, running into these cool peopleand be like, I do not have to explain my disability anymore! They get it.

They talk to me about the artistic choices, that I made in my art, and it's notabout like avoiding disability or rejecting disability. But like what – it'smore like what my mentor, Carrie, had said.

It's about disability flavors. The conversation, it flavors the things we do asartists, it's like part of our style so I was really excited I get to hang outwith these cool people.

And of course, part of me was pretty frightened because I did not think I couldhave this community. So, in many ways, I have always looked up to Riva and Ijust remember right before I left Chicago for Taiwan, she told me, you know,"Tell your stories. Just focus on who you are, you are not trying toconvince people. You are not trying to, like, make them believe in anything,but just be who you are." So, that really stayed with me.

I do feel honoured if people see, there are parallels between your work, and Ifeel it, she is my star. (Laughs) I think your work has helped me to see theimages that I wish I saw earlier. In my life. I know that Riva can talk aboutthis how disabled people are not represented in the fine arts world, not in away that we would like.

And I think I also want to connect this to, like, the question of what ispowerful? And I think what's powerful about us creating disability art is itencompasses all aspects, including, you know, the vulnerable aspect, itincludes pain, it includes – there are days I do not want to do anything.

It is really about, like, not trying to convince the nondisabled world aboutour value. And I think it's about many things, and having agency. Yeah! So, Ido find earlier on, my work was about trying to convince people that I amcapable, I can do this, I can do things just as well as people with fivefingers.

But I think the more – and the longer I am in disability community, and ourcommunity, I feel like I'm making art for my people. So, a lot of time at thislike, I want to share my work and it's very much how I'm seeing that, Riva iscreating workable disability. We can only do as a community.

When I first met Sandie she told me some pretty harrowing stories, which I willnot repeat. About how she was treated as a young woman. A teenager, and a youngwoman, in Taiwan.

And I think in the mainland, too. Nope. Could not remember. Things that brokemy heart. And I saw in front of me this woman who had come through that, andhad found her way – it could not have been easy with the kind of messages yougot to step into something like the disability Art and culture Festival. Thatmust've taken a pretty deep breath.

And yet right from the beginning, your work was so poetic. That is what reallykilled me. You know, I have seen a lot of young artists and emerging artistsstart to deal with impairments. But your work from the beginning was veryassured and very poetic.

I think it has continued that way. I think sometimes, technique – you havetouched on an interesting thing. The way the technique is so obsessive, thereare various reasons, partly it is to prove, oh, look I can do things. I can dosomething well. Your work is very beautifully crafted.

I think there is a bridge therebetween as of late, craft as this way of --seeking dignity, or parity or something. We love it for its own sake, but itproduces an unexpected, "Oh!" In our audience. Which is too bad,really. That it has to be like, "Oh! You can do this."

But I think that you use that kind of surprise to really good effect. And as Isaid earlier, we are both really concerned with intimacy, trust, and community.My frustration was-in love with portraiture back when I was in the art schoolin the 1970s.

I hated I never saw any images of people like me, it was weird. Yes, I hated itand I was also relieved because I hated who I was. It would've helped metremendously if disabled people were shown as beautiful in the history of art.We were not so where there is longing and dread at the same time, it took along time to get past the dread and get to the longing.

I wonder for you, do you have some it like that where it's like, yes, I wanted,no I don't? In your early work, at least.

Yes. Spot on, I was thinking – I was so scared to take classes in fashiondepartment, because I was like, I don't know what to do. I started drawingpretty clothes when I was little, and thought about how I want to be a fashiondesigner.

As soon as I got into college, I was like, inner beauty matters, right?(Laughs) I was really conflicted. I want to be beautiful, but I think deepinside me, like, I could not feel that way. That's how internalized ableismworks. It's like, no, perhaps I should do something more from the inside.

That is why I did not go into the fashion department because I was scared. Iwas also thinking that I did not want to design something beautiful accordingto, like, everybody loves this type of beauty! I was not into it. Even though Iwas not sure what I was looking for.

Eventually, I think I was looking for the rawness of a disability. So, a lot oftimes conflicting. It's like, I can say... I did not like the way that peoplestared at me, since I was little. But that actually trained me a skill to bevery observant, so, like Riva pointed out, we use these and make it work.

And perhaps a part of it comes with, like, the expectations that -- we need toshow you something you are good at to see you as valuable beings. At the sametime, I like challenging myself with different stitches. The negative spaces betweenmy hands, or the shape, and how I interact with tools, it's like, I love thetactile quality.

So, yeah it is my passion, too. I do push myself hard, you know, when I wasmaking metalworking, and using different tools, and hammers, and each time itis an internal dialogue. Am I picking up this tool to show people that I canactually do it? And coming back to myself like, why do I have to go to thesequestions every time?

And why are we expected to just, like, prove, prove, and I think later on it'slike, you know what? I am going to focus on the specific concept I'm workingon. There are a lot of internal dialogues that take place in the art making.

Thank you. I jumped in because we got some questions. They relate to exactlywhat you are both talking about now. One question – can you share what habitsor visuals you participate in to develop such inner clarity?

We also got a question, how do you fight ableism? I will add a little piece toit, what I'm hearing about your conflicts when you are thinking about whattools and how you create, is this potentially ableism we hold within ourselves.I just want to offer if you have anything to add going over the questions, orRiva if you wanted to continue that discussion.

So, the question is: how do you fight ableism?

I was just thinking, you were addressing this ableism that sometimes we carryin ourselves. And that makes us question certain things, you know, the strugglethat sometimes that can present.

I will tell a story about something Sandie and I were both involved in. Therewas a show before COVID, in BC at the Audrey house museum, of (Unknown Name)who is that Nigerian artist, think, installation and... fiber ceramics basedart. Brilliant, and disabled. And one of my personal go to, stellar artistsright now.

There was a show at the house, and there was a discussion of their art at theMCA with the curator, and a couple from the MCA. And Sandie and I and a coupleof our other friends went to it, and the discussion was both left disabilityout of the room, but when they got around to it, the comment I really rememberas they were talking about the fact that they work with a crew.

The curator said he is forced to work with a crew because of his disability.Now, almost every artist these days, working on large-scale, works with a crew.They constructed his use of a crew as something slightly pathetic. And surely,he would not have to do that if he was able-bodied.

By the time they ended up finishing talking, we were in tears. And in rage.When the Q&A started, we were all standing up and saying, what are youdoing? Like, people know me in that crowd. And they probably know Sandie too.If I'm getting pissed off at MCA creators, I'm burning some bridges. (Laughs)You know? They may never think of me ever for anything.

But I was so angry. It was more important to me, to us, to point to thataudience what was going on that... certainly nobody else addressed, until wedid. And when we did, all these other people were standing up and raising theirhands and talking about the ableism in the conversation. Is that what youremember, too? Comments like behind us, and stuff? People I did not know?

A little bit. I think what hurt from the conversation was, I think thecurators, or at least the speakers on stage were pointing out, oh, we do notwant to talk about his disability. That something in private. Yeah, I thinkthey said something in private.

Yeah, they did.

Well, have you heard about the term disability aesthetics? (Laughs)

You know, fighting ableism – you cannot stand on a roof and go, I shall fightableism! Something happens. Right? Something happens and you make a decision abouthow you engage with the world, or you have a feeling that is a bad feeling, andmay be art able to take it apart. And say, oh, I'm feeling this way because ofhow I'm treated or something that happened a year or 10 years ago, I did nothave to feel this way.

I always like to talk about – I showed that portrait of Nomy Lamm and manyyears ago when Nomy lived here she showed me an essay she wrote, she doesn'tremember and she's like, I do not remember she voted when she was like 17. Theessay said that she had become really politicized. And that she understood whatwas going on with ableism.

But you want to say that it does not mean it stopped hurting. You can be aspolitical as, you know, you can be a flaming torch.

When something happens or a bad memory happens, you have to forgive yourself.If you are still hurt. If all of your, sort of, analysis and politics andaesthetics still are not -- thick enough or established enough, for thosethings not to hurt. That is true for a lot of us who are political.

You know, if someone attacks your race, you may have as much race theory as youcan possibly have. But maybe that little bit of pain is the molten – adds alittle bit to the molten core. It's not like, oh, I will not feel that. It's,oh, right! This is painful. That is why I have to fight this.

This is Risa. I cannot believe we are basically at closing time. I know! I feellike we could listen to you talk for several hours. We will end on time. We areso, so incredibly grateful to have both of you join us today.

I know you cannot see the chat, Riva, but the appreciation for both of you isso, so strong. And we will add it to the list of those, I am grateful you arein Chicago with us. So, thank you to all of you who joined us, and supportedthis program.

And as promised, we are giving away 10 copies of 'Golem Girl'. I will email youtomorrow – yes. Riva is showing a cover of the book right now. If your namesare Steve, Mary Daniel, Jesse Montanaro, Ingrid, David, Cheryl Miller, Barbara,and amelia, and others, I will email you tomorrow and we will get the book toyou, I'm so grateful to have you here.

Before we conclude, a few announcements: if you would like to continue toproduce accessible events like these, please consider contributing to theprogram at W and stay engaged with us, follow uson social media, or Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to learn more about our work.And when we announce future events like this.

Again, we cannot thank you enough for your time and your talent. Today andalways. So, have a good night everyone! Thank you.