A woman appears to be crawling out of a hole under a tree in a very woody, natural area.

Micro-commissions at Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival

Alongside Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival core programme, five additional artworks were linked to via social media – one for each day of the festival. Find out more about the artists and their works here…

During 2020, Unlimited was able to support a range of micro awards for our alumni and, via partnerships with allies, for new artists too. Not all of these were about making work – many linked to research or testing new working models for example. Some did create new work, and from these, five were chosen to add to the festival mix, providing yet more options and exposure to great work and artists.

Laura Dajao – Queen B*tch

On the first day of the festival, we promoted Laura Dajao’s Queen B*tch – a spoken word poem written by Laura, inspired by both Laura’s involvement in Ella Mesma’s ‘I am all wxmen’ video and a personal dating experience. Queen B*tch is the culmination of all the things that Laura, who works under the name LauraDDances, identifies with: being a woman, being disabled, being a wheelchair user, hip hop music and dance, the labels dancer, Filipina, Person of Colour. It includes a diverse and inclusive cast of dancers from different dance styles.

You can experience the work here for a further week.

The artwork has embedded captions and audio description and there are a number of alternative versions also available: the work subtitled in French and Spanish, the poem without the Audio Description, the poem with just Descriptive Audio Description and the poem with just Beatboxing Audio Description which can be found on Laura’s site. 

Ngozi Ugochukwu – Scars: Memories of the Skin

Next came Ngozi Ugochukwu with her photographic series Scars: Memories of the Skin, which was a micro commission awarded through Unlimited and DadaFest.

Scars communicate different meanings, lived experiences, and emotional changes as a script on the body. Like translated texts, they can be interpreted in different ways. Through photography, artist Ngozi Ugochukwu uses her lived experience to explore the scars on her own body, each telling a story from her life. From tribal markings received as a baby, to burns used in traditional Nigerian medicine inflicted on her to try and make her walk, to hospital operations, to the everyday marks and scratches we all get from living our lives, Ugochukwu explores what is written on the body.

Ngozi’s website hosts over 30 images and accompanying texts/audio pieces.

On each page there are audio files which are audio descriptions of the images and text.

Richard Butchins – 213 Things About Me

Then we shared Richard Butchins’ work 213 Things About Me – a serial drama-documentary, in podcast form, offering a wry and moving insight into the world of the Autist, funded in partnership with DAO.

Written, directed, and narrated by Richard Butchins, starring Rosa Hoskins (daughter of the late Bob Hoskins) as the voice of ‘Rose,’ the work was recorded remotely from their homes and edited by Patrick Knill. It tells the life story of ‘Rose’ through a list of her traits, made immediately after being diagnosed with Autism.

It exists as seven 20 minute episodes which can be accessed here.

Transcripts are available on demand, by emailing joe@disabilityarts.online

Amy Rosa – Shadow Places

On Saturday we shared Shadow Places, a work funded by Unlimited and by SMHAF (Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival) as part of their series called My Experience of Isolation. For this work, Amy Rosa created a series of photographic self-portraits, accompanied with creative writing/spoken texts about living with complex post traumatic stress disorder. 

All images can be viewed at different sizes and have spoken text and written descriptions. They can be accessed here.

Hayley Williams-HindleIn praise of fidgeting! Portraits over Zoom

And the final piece was created by Hayley who, during lockdown in 2020, has been embracing the singular possibilities of Zoom meetings and managing her ADHD by drawing impulsively during them.

For this work, funded as a micro commission between Unlimited and Coventry 2021, Hayley draws her response to the faces on screen, often as a single line, using pencil, watercolour, and oil pastels on paper or in a notebook, using watercolour and cotton rag paper. The images of these lockdown doodles are accompanied by a voiced reflective response to her own Neurodiverse experience of the world – specifically, ADHD.

The video starts with the last six minutes of the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D, and its accompanying sound wave. Observers are invited to experience the music with paper and something to mark-make with, and to record their response to the sound and the movement and colour on screen in whatever way feels most instinctive. The viewer is thereby drawn in to an empathic experience of having a mind driven by a neurochemical difference.

You can access a captioned version of the work here, and an audio described version here.