Unlimited was delighted to stretch our micro awards model through working with two new partners, Coventry 2021 and DadaFest. Each partnership resulted in a wide range of applications and has led to Unlimited connecting with and supporting some exceptional disabled artists based in two distinct geographic areas – the northwest and Coventry and Warwickshire.
In partnership with Coventry 2021
After an impressive amount of applications from artists based in Coventry and Warwickshire the final ten have been chosen, covering a range of work spanning activism, community collaboration, environment and public and digital spaces.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We want Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 to be truly inclusive and representative of the all of the people of the city, which includes commissioning artistic creations from d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists. These artists are all making art, of one kind or another, their profession and their future. I can’t wait to see how they respond to our City of Culture themes and the great art that they create for our 2021 programme.”
The artists are:
Al is a comic artist, author, painter and printmaker. A lot of his work is based around his experiences as a disabled person and as a survivor of physical ritual child abuse. Al is keen to raise awareness around hate crime towards disabled people, while also making his work accessible to more people by exploring different formats. The work by its very nature will likely shock people, but it aims to in such a way that leads to discussion and increased empathy.
Chrysalis Craft Coventry CIC
Chrysalis Craft Coventry CIC using art to work against loneliness as a result of language, cultural and ability barriers. The organisation seeks to help and support people from a variety of different. The aim is to build self-esteem and friendship through artistic techniques. Dr Seyedeh Naseriniaki is the executive director and has worked with BAME, asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants for the last seven years. She creates sessions and activities to help with healing using art and different artistic methods for wellbeing.
Iain is an autistic neurodivergent artist who specialises in photography and video work. Mental health issues have spiked during the Coronavirus pandemic and as such, he wants to connect with people to show that we are not alone during this period, even though it has caused us to become a little more distant from each other physically, we still need to connect emotionally and let people know we are there for them. Through this commission he wants to show the everyday of people of Coventry connecting together to show the city through their eyes and give them an outlet to express what they are going through. He would like to pursue developing an online platform to exhibit both their work and his own to allow for communication with the wider public, making visible these issues and giving space for dialogue.
Edie Jo Murray
Edie is a Coventry-based artist whose work focuses on perceptions of space, reality, and the world(s) we live in. Edie looks for ways to enhance or distort perception and propose alternate worlds to those one finds familiar. Edie is interested in sensory definitions of place, and the way sound impacts how we feel in a space. Edie will be creating a series of new sound works that respond directly to the sonic landscape of Coventry.
Emily’s work draws on her perspective as a neurodivergent woman to rediscover and unpick patterns. For the micro commission Emily will paint a reimagined modern Lady Godiva, that also celebrates the city’s bicycle manufacturing history. ‘Ms Godiva’ will cycle vibrant and unfettered through Coventry and reform the norm within our depictions of femininity, championing body positivity, body hair freedom and destigmatising menstruation!
Hayley is a researcher, writer, artist and coach. She is also a Brain and Behaviour change practitioner, and a ‘TRE’ provider for trauma and stress relief. Interested in the neuroscience of human behaviour and relating, with a particular focus on supporting the wellbeing of autistic and other neurodiverse adults this commission challenges the conventions we hold about what it means to ‘pay attention’ to each other, reforming the norm that we need to make eye contact and sit still in order to signal our focus. Hayley is creating a celebration of fidgeting!
Katie is an autistic and physically disabled performance poet, with a soul full of stories that can’t be contained. They make complicated metaphors about serious things, like sickness, loss, and love. They will be using their micro-commission to spend some time exploring the Herbert gallery’s natural history collection and create an artistic response to what they find there.
Lou Sarabadzic is a French bilingual artist based in Warwickshire, where she works as a freelance writer, translator and performer. Lou lives with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – which means that the public realm and simply leaving her home have always been challenging. Through this commission, she wants to create a collaborative piece mixing audio, film, and spoken word, in order to explore hope and celebrate daily joys at a time when anxieties about going out and about have, for many people, reached their peak.
Richard & Rishard
Richard & Rishard is a collaboration between playwright Richard Walls and actor Rishard Beckett, which seeks to explore new artistic territory through the sheer joy / terror of structured improvisation and playfulness. Whilst this is their first film project together, Beckett is no stranger to the screen, having played Lawrence in BBC Doctors and Mikey Wade in Channel 4’s No Offence. They hope to create something that will raise a few smiles…and maybe even some laughs.
Sebastian H-W is a Live Artist (MX:UK) based in the West Midlands whose work explores identity, memory, technology, participation, and bodies, through cutting-edge approaches to creating live performances, tours, games, workshops, and installations. He has made work across a range of sites, spaces, and places including; grand theatres, queer clubs, white cubes, black-boxes, historic watchtowers, city streets, quiet canals, the palm of your hand, and the voices inside your head. His Micro-Commission project “Re:Mapping The Norm” is an intersectional mapping project to create accessible digital maps of Coventrians navigating a changing world.
In partnership with DadaFest
The details of each commission are still under wraps (building up the suspense here, DaDaFest!) but we can share who the artists are and tell you a little more about them:
Gold is a neurodiverse British-Nigerian multidisciplinary artist. They come from a place of intersectionality, and feel it can often be very difficult to find representation and comfort in mainstream culture which is why her work mainly focuses on Afro-futurism, Traditional African spirituality, The Black Body and the physical land it is indigenous to and inhabits, sensory-stimulation and sensory overload and neurodiversity and neurological perception of reality. Gold recently created a piece for Unlimited’s blog: Can I Be Free?
You can read more about Gold’s commission, ‘The Misunderstandings of the Other Side’ here.
Clare is a queer multidisciplinary artist, sculptor writer, singer and performer, most recently the creator of a pop up comedy hairdressers ‘curl up and dye in Oldham’. The character makes people cringe giggle so much their bones hurt. Her work is sometimes political, she is presently developing a disturbingly warped recycled uranium glass and ceramic series that explores her feelings about society which she plans to exhibit.
Natalie is an Actress, Dancer, and Theatre Maker who has worked across TV, Theatre and Film for 10yrs. After working with Graeae, her understanding of how to embed access grew and this has been the driving force of her work ever since. Together, their work will provide a fresh take, including on the truly holistic and psychosexual needs of disabled people.
You can read more about Natalie and Clare’s commission, ‘SpokeCast,’ here.
Ngozi is a photographer, filmmaker and performer – including acting and stand-up/sit-down comedy. Ngozi believes that art, imagery and performance can challenge people’s perceptions and encourage debate about the way they see and shape the world and her ambition would be to have her work, touring in galleries worldwide.
You can read more about Ngozi’s commission, ‘Scars: Memories of the Skin,’ here.
Nicola’s performances involve movement, music, dress-up, sensory materials, special effects, gesture, speech, words and pictograms. Working with both solo and group creative process, she uses access and interpretation mechanisms for dialogue, to challenge stereotypes and signal in performances inclusively for people. She is influenced by her everyday life being a neurodivergent artist, mother, child-led play and her performer/facilitator roles make visible the cultural contribution of the artist and the participant.
You can read more about Nicola’s commission, ‘Chair Dancing Fitness Take 2,’ here.
Julian is a young British illustrator based in Manchester, UK who defines as unapologetically trans, queer, disabled, and mixed race. Julian is passionate about equality and minority rights, and these themes weave themselves into his artwork. He illustrates for charities such as the LGBT Foundation, and creates independent comics featuring minority characters rarely seen in mainstream media.
You can read more about Julian’s commission, ‘Game of Spoons,’ here.
Chanje is a poet, playwright and performance artist. She creates autobiographically inspired art that explores how the personal interlinks with the universal, and the political. Her work explores 21st century life, and aims to use art as a tool to transform lives, shift consciousness and also bring joy to an otherwise serious and stressful modern existence. She predominately works as a solo artist in performance, across the literary, theatrical and live art sectors.
You can read more about Chanje’s commission here.
Izzy is an artist, writer and curator based in Manchester, UK. They are interested in hidden LGBT histories. Rather than positioning themselves as a historian, they take a fan-like approach to their research. This research is often finalised either in print or online. They run Trans Masc Studies, a research project currently available on Instagram (@transmascstudies), in which they research masculine-leaning gender variance throughout history and culture.
Dominic is a 27 year-old Mancunian artist with Down’s Syndrome, who has featured on BBC news and displayed work in London and New York. His work includes sculpture, graffiti art and rap music. He is based at Venture Arts, and for this project is supported by Patrick ‘CaveMan’ Farrell.
You can read more about Dominic’s commission, ‘Weasel International,’ here.