“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”— Isaac Newton in 1675
Expression is conveying ones thoughts or feelings. Art is the earliest known way, predating even spoken languages and ancient cultures. Whatever media we use in art whether it be a paintbrush or our own body, it broadcasts experiences and moments in time. This is also true of the disability community. The disability community bears a unique and grand scheme within the world of art history. It builds on what we are capable of doing. We stand on the shoulders of giants, as Stephen Hawking was liked to quote from Isaac Newton. This is why our theme this month is expression.
The able-bodied worldview presupposes a body with certain abilities. The disability community worldview presupposes a world without them; hence our abilities express themselves stronger, and shine through disability. From the blind epic poet Homer, who in athletically-obsessed ancient Greece, gave us the greatest mythic story in Western culture, The Odyssey, to van Gogh, who battled depression, and Christy Brown, who painted entirely with his left foot. Every one in the disability community has an experience that is unique and deserves expression without constraint. In the world of art, we can do this. As Bob Ross was fond of saying: “This is your world. You have total power over this canvas.” He’s right, whatever medium we use as creators. Whoever can create, can express themselves through art.
With this month’s theme, I intend to focus on the thoughts and feelings of not only those in disability culture, but those around it. Hopefully, I will present disability culture as something unique, special, and worthy of the epic status. Not only with emphasis on people with disabilities and their artistic accomplishments, but everyone who assists in achieving their utmost level of expression. They are the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
When was the last time you were a helpful giant to someone? When they needed help, how did you answer? No man is an island. Each has our own gifts and abilities. I hope to show some wonderful expressions of them this month. Let us know how you’ve helped others express themselves too. It is through expression that all our abilities truly shine.