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Body-ody-ody 2: The Queer Crip Figure Art of Derek Newman-Stille

Here are two more pieces from queer, nonbinary, Disabled artist Derek Newman-Stille's show Body-ody-ody. Both of these pieces, Behind the Facade and Community Erasure, are informed by a DisArts/Artivism perspective and are meant to highlight marginalised communities that Newman-Stille is part of.

Read more about each of these pieces and the Body-ody-ody show below.

Behind the Facade

As someone who has a spinal injury that causes chronic pain, I regularly find I have to mask or hide that pain, performing able-bodiedness as much as I am able to in order to engage with an able-bodied world. This painting tears away the facade, showing the complexity of pain under the skin. It shows a spine and back sparkling with difference. I have used pop cab tabs to make up the spine because in high school I participated in a campaign to collect pop cab tabs to contribute to purchasing wheelchairs for wheelchair users. The stones and glass beads are meant to signify that although my body is shaped by pain, it also contains a certain beauty and history.

Mixed media acrylic on canvas with stones, glass beads, tin pop cab tabs, tin, plastic, and yarn.

Community Erasure

Community Erasure is meant to evoke the eraser and underrepresented history of marginalized people. Often we grow up without knowing the history of our communities and we feel like shadows on our landscape - temporary and invisible. The shadowy figures across this brightly painted abstract represent that lost history and lost community, but also represent the possibilities of creating a new community. The background of this work evokes the splashing of the tides against the shore and the changeability that is implied by these smashing waves.

Mixed media acrylic on canvas with paper.

About Body-ody-ody

It’s all about the body in this show, particularly bodies that don’t conform. Queer, nonbinary, Disabled artist Derek Newman-Stille showcases their Queer Crip art work exploring and stretching the body. This show is about bodies that resist control and constructions of normalcy.

So often art reinforces notions of one bodily ideal, limiting expressions of beauty to a narrowly defined concept. Body-ody-ody seeks to break those barriers, revelling in the diversity of the human form and highlighting the way that bodies enter and engage with the world.

Like most DisArts (disability art), Newman-Stille’s work is the art of embodiment.

In Body-ody-ody, Newman-Stille draws on the emotive power of expressionism to evoke a reflection on bodies that is subjective and embedded with meaning.

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