Growing up with a belief that it was rude to stare at people with a disability or impairment meant that I gradually eliminated their presence from my consciousness. Admittedly I would glance at those who presented as ‘abnormal’ and politely, or perhaps shamefully, look away when eye contact was made. I felt pity for the person and considered their disability to be unfortunate.
Mainstream media reinforces this assumption and presents a limited narrative: the celebration of an abled body, and the devastation of the pathological. Alternatively, it showcases those who overcome the pathological as medical miracles or inspirational idols.
Strangely Familiar investigates the ‘unseen’ side of a differently-abled narrative effectively disrupting the ableist presumption of people labeled ‘disabled’ as inferior. Over the past twelve months I have worked collaboratively with Jocelyn, Finbar and Anthony. The stories presented are not concerned with their physical limitations, nor are they celebrations of ‘inspirational achievements’. Instead, each collaboration seeks to share with an audience, a glimpse into the personal and intimate aspects of love, belonging and identity.