This month, David Hevey, NDACA Project Director, on being in the heritage story…

The past is a foreign country, it is said. It can also be an embarrassing place, too. I recall Beckett’s Krapps Last Tape and the annoyance his character Krapp felt when he heard himself, ‘the fool I mistook myself for’, his voice recorded on old reel-to-reel tapes, when I find and see my former self there in the heritage we are preserving at NDACA.

This is happening to me, since I am Project Director on a project whereby I also helped make the original works Shape Arts (lead on NDACA Project) are now preserving. So, now and again, I turn up as my past self, as a media creative, but now being filed, catalogued and archived by me now, as project director. It is so odd to find oneself, the fool you mistook yourself for, grinning out of old pictures, gassing off with old opinions. Of course, it makes others in the Project Team laugh, thankfully.

The image below is from when I was a BBC presenter on From The Edge, working out of the Community and Disability Programmes Unit, as a tv and film director too. Some of that television and film history, when diverse, different and disability media was broadcast to millions, will be in our NDACA story. Who knew when that publicity-image was taken, that the older me would archive the previous me! Hey, Dorian Grey, get back in the attic! The image may (or may not) end up in the final NDACA Collection – I hope our Acquisitions Committee decide not!

Photograph of David Hevey as a BBC Presenter(Image shows David Hevey, as BBC presenter © BBC)

Other heritage portraits from the past are also emerging, particularly through the fantastic collection, pledged to NDACA, by the artist Tanya Raabe and her brilliant Who’s Who collection.   These paintings recorded many of the greats of the Disability Rights Movement and its partner wing, the Disability Arts Movement (whose heritage-story we are building).   For me, Tanya Raabe’s brilliant portrait works capture a plethora of moods, from the faux-naïve to the seeringly observed: she painted me as Project Director and people said it didn’t look like me, but I replied that it felt like me, so the artist has done her job.   I hope that image IS in the collection but, again, the Acquisitions Committee will decide.

Painting of David Hevey as the NDACA Director by Tanya Raabe(Image shows David Hevey, NDACA Project Director, painted by Tanya Raabe, an NDACA depositing artist.  © Tanya Raabe)

And Tanya painted the Project founder, Tony Heaton OBE.   Tony is a doyen of both the artists and the capacity-builders of the Disability Arts Movement, and began the whole NDACA journey, some twenty years ago.    He, too, looks different now, probably finds the past a different country, but the painting of him, by Tanya, which led our press campaign, was hugely widely used by the media who covered our launch (and got us to a third of a million views and audiences for the launch alone).  Why did that picture prove so popular?  It isn’t because Tony ‘looks disabled’ so was an easy signifier for a lazy press.   I think it is because Tanya Raabe’s portrait of Tony Heaton is accessible, clear, painterly, and even entertaining.    It is upbeat, enthusiastic and quietly powerful, as our heritage story of the unique Disability Arts Movement is going to be.   That image will definitely be in the NDACA collection, since Tony was the NDACA founder and Tanya is one of the great collections we are collecting.  And it’s a great picture, and great heritage.

Painting of Tony Heaton OBE, NDACA Founder by Tanya Raabe(Image shows Tony Heaton OBE, NDACA Founder, by Tanya Raabe.  © Tanya Raabe).

NDACA is an HLF funded project being created between 2015-2018, with additional support from Arts Council England and JRF.


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Read more about the NDACA project here.