Yinka Shonibare MBE Launches 'Shape Open' 2013
Marion Michell, Soldiers Child

This year's theme 'Disability Re-assessed' has generated submissions from an exciting international range of artists. The 2013 Open which launches on Thursday 3rd October with a private view, showcases a multi-disciplinary selection of works including painting, sculpture, textile, digital art and photography. The work represents a rich diversity of opinions, reactions and responses to this highly political and often deeply personal theme, but is united by a clarity, energy and commitment to re-interpreting and re-assessing disability.

The exhibition launch and prize giving will be held on 3rd Oct at the Nunnery Gallery, Bow between 6-10pm and will be opened by our very own Shape Patron Yinka Shonibare.

Yinka Shonibare joined Shape CEO Tony Heaton and Nunnery Gallery Director Rosamond Murdoch earlier in the year on the shortlist panel and helped select works for this year's exhibition.

'The Shape Open Exhibition provides a fantastic platform for disabled artists to show their work. Such exhibitions offer great opportunities for artists to be discovered by institutions and large audiences. Similar exhibitions have helped to contribute to the development of my own personal career'.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, Shape Open Patron

'We received an overwhelming response to the 2013 Shape Open Exhibition call out, and are indebted to Yinka Shonibare MBE and Rosamond Murdoch, the Director of The Nunnery Gallery, who have selected 46 outstanding artists. The work chosen presents a real insight and deeper exploration of the theme 'Disability Assessed', particularly pertinent in today's political climate.'

Tony Heaton OBE, Shape CEO

Image: Marion Michell, Soldier's Child (2012/13)
Banner image: Shape Open 2013 exhibition. Photo by Rachel Cherry


A full colour catalogue of the exhibition is available here:SHAPE_Open-Catalogue_final_web_1.pdf

Text description entry below:


Gabriel Andreu

Silence 3
HD Digital film file
1 min 12 sec



Silence’ is a series of three works relating to subjects that are often un‑acknowledged
in society. ‘Silence 3’ examines physical disabilities by exploring the undulating
environment in San Francisco, and how some aspects of geography place limits that
even city planners cannot overcome.


Katherine Araniello

SD Digital film file
2 mins 41 sec 

The live ‘Charity Collection Doll’ brings to life the persona of the intentions
of the original collection box. The performance is a parody of charities still
generating income through emotive images. The soundtrack plays on the
theme of pity that is prevalent in the economics of some charities to this day.



Katharine Armstrong

Acrylic on canvas
120cm x 120cm
Lizz Brady


The Last Stand’ depicts the fusing of mobility aids with bodies created from
frail material. Although the messy spills of papier-mâché on the once shiny legs
represent a sense of despair, the wheels convey a slight hope of eventual escape.


Sophie Brown

Textile Braille
Stitch and wool
95cm x 104cm


This work explores the way we experience the world through each of our senses,
using the coded language of Braille to communicate values through our sense of
touch. The audience is encouraged to physically engage with the work by touching
it. Through this interaction the work adapts and transforms, creating a continuing
conversation between the viewer and the artwork.



Charles Burns


Florence Seated on the
Chaise Longue
Pencil on cut paper
59cm x 46cm


This piece explores the feeling of invisibility experienced by people with autism.
Using the traditional medium of the silhouette (cutting portraits with scissors) but
in reverse – the figure is cut out entirely to leave an empty space or hole. Despite
this empty space, articulated by a sensitive scissor-cut line, clear clues are given
about the character of the person who has been removed.




Vivi-Mari Carpelan


Your Indifference is Breaking
My Heart
Collage, artist’s photograph,
pages from a book with 19th
Century moral poetry
78cm x 58cm


This work suggests that the accepted moral codes of society are still ‘Victorian’. It is
about the fundamental right to assess my own abilities and the ways in which I feel
I can contribute to society on my own terms. I want to evoke questions about the
validity of assessing people’s abilities from an emotionally indifferent point of view
– is my value solely dependent on my economic productivity.




Ellie Collins
Haptic Object


Haptic Object 1
Sand Cast Aluminium
2cm x 4.5cm x 6.5cm


The sensory (haptic) objects in this series are designed to engage with the
audience’s curiosity, encouraging them to explore their tactile, visual, kinaesthetic
and auditory qualities. They are developed through collaboration and research with
people with complex learning disabilities and autism, and explore the potential
scope of non-verbal interaction and sensorial interpretation.



Maria Constantinou


C-Type Print
119.5cm x 68.5cm



‘Bandaged’ is about mental illness and discrimination. The tying of the bandage
represents the restrictions of mental illness and the feeling of being unable to
get rid of the anguish, pain and isolation that cannot be seen on the outside. The
wrapping of one’s self signifies mental illness into a physical form.



Alice Dass

Climate Change
Pastel on inkjet printed collage
51cm x 62cm


‘Climate Change’ demonstrates the changing political and public climate of
perceptions on disability. During the 2013 Paralympics disabled people, especially
wheelchair-users, were seen as ‘Heroes’. However, within a very short time after the
closing ceremony disabled people were back to being seen as ‘Benefit Scroungers’.



Beth Davis-Hofbauer

C-Type Print
42cm x 27.2cm


‘Snapshot’ shows a seemingly spontaneous moment of family life. The cling film wrapped wheelchair represents how
disability becomes normalised and invisible within the familial context whilst simultaneously remaining a barrier to the
parental experience. The empty, wrapped wheelchair also demonstrates how illness and disability can leave you feeling invisible and
living in an overly sanitised world, removed from direct experience.




Eric Fong

This work is a reflection on identity and disability in the context of facial disfigurement. Looking at a face reflected on water may suggest narcissism. Although narcissism usually has a negative connotation, psychologists have argued that healthy narcissism or self-love can be a required element for the development of identity. In this context, the work questions if a certain amount of healthy narcissism is essential to regaining self-acceptance in the aftermath of disfigurement.



Rachel Gadsden

Power & Glory


Digital print on canvas stretcher

41cm x 60cm (x3)


‘Power & Glory’ is a series of drawings inspired by Paralympic athletes. In the past,

physically disabled bodies have all too often been seen as ugly and inferior. This series of drawings portrays the Paralympic athlete’s body as aesthetically striking, celebrating the beauty of the disabled body in all its glory.



Ruth Hamblett



Silk screen print, watercolour

paints, charcoal, discoloured

water, pen and ink, natural rust.

120cm x 100cm


This work explores ideas and thoughts about fragmented memories of the inner

self and themes of the body and the human form. The surrealist deformed body

resonates with my own experience of invisible disabilities.

Stephen Lee Hodgkins

A War Against Disabled People


SD Digital File

3 mins 24 Secs


‘A War Against Disabled People’ is an audio visual summary of ‘The Austerity War

and the impoverishment of disabled people’ report by Chris Edwards and Equal

Lives (formerly Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People). The report highlighted that

the burden of cuts to public services is being unfairly shouldered by some of the

poorest people in society.




Matthew Humphreys

Suspended Monologue 2013

SD Digital File

1 Min 37 Secs


‘Suspended Monologue’ transforms the language of deaf people into a choreographed

piece, in which sign language becomes a dance of hands in a silent and muted space.




Margherita Isola

Fix All


‘Fix All’ glue, fabric, embroidery

21cm x 61cm x 7cm

‘Fix All’ is an everyday object used to repair and mount things which resembles and

symbolises objects of violence and war; a common and universal disability which

destroys instead of fixes.


Fabienne Jacquet



Mixed-media on paper

60cm x 50cm

‘Bunnyman’ was inspired by an interaction with a friend who has bi-polar disorder.

This piece evokes the difficulties experienced by a person whose social skills are

often skewed and their frustrations involved in trying to relate and communicate.

This is about the reality of living with a condition you often cannot control, and the

effect it can have on those around you.




Kasia Kaldowski




Digital photo print on aluminium

75cm x 100cm


‘Walk’ is a photo-montage of the New Scotland Yard revolving sign, combined with

a green traffic light. The work is based on a mantra to ‘stand up on one’s own two

feet.’ I created it to provide myself with a visual source of strength and, in doing

so, believe it could also be applicable to many other individuals who need a little




Babis Karalis

It is absurd to chase the light with

your shadow, II


White cane, light bulb

130cm x 3cm x 3cm


This work is part of a series of works which consists of a white cane, which has an

electric fluorescent bulb fitted. The stick is the extension of the blind man within

the space. The installation is the extension of light in the dark



Ann Kelson

Be Careful what you Wish For


Bone, wire, thread, resin, wood

2cm x 6.5cm x 4.5cm


Sixteen years ago, as a result of a fall, my husband became Paraplegic and I became

a carer. Although my husband is the one in the wheelchair, due to the daily

compromises made to accommodate a disability I sometimes feel as disabled as him.

My husband’s spine, thanks to amazing surgery, has been stabilised but will never

be fixed or whole again. With these emotive bones I am attempting to convey how

I feel about the fallible, imperfect repairs.

Pragya Kumar

Inside Out


Mixed media on canvas

60cm x 50cm


This tactile artwork represents society’s inclination to take things at face value, and

how I believe inner value and skills are often irrelevant due to people only judging

on their immediate impression.



James Lake

Entitlement – series number 1



91cm x 52cm x 18cm

The ‘Entitlement’ series is the consideration of how people are being redefined;

especially those with the label of ‘Disability’. The work seeks to address the

re‑assessment of people into small groups of economic production units. People are

having their soul, personality and identity replaced by their usefulness to economy.


Beth Lau

A=Z (Work in progress)


Aluminium and oak

176cm x 14.5cm x 3cm,

3cm x 14.5cm x 252cm

‘A=Z’ is an alphabetical design, embossed in Braille on 27 thin aluminium sheets.

Viewers are invited to touch the work with care, thus leaving fingerprints and

marks on the aluminium sheets while feeling the Braille.



Dene Leigh

Face Blind


Oil on linen

123cm x 87cm


Through the use of trompe l’oeil, an image has been carefully constructed to

make it difficult for the viewer to see the details of a face. The work references

the neurological condition Prosopagnosia (an inability to recognise faces). This

effect draws on my own grandfather’s inability to recognise and read faces after

suffering a stroke.


Ilsun Maeng


The Parting


Charcoal on paper

84.1cm x 59.4cm


This work was created to show that disability is not only about loss, it is

about a creation.




Aga Maria Masternak

Aries 5


Watercolours on paper

120cm x 50cm


‘Aries 5’ is from a series of rectangularworks painted to a specified size, influenced

by Romanesque sculptures in which bodies are carved onto a limited amount of space thus altering their proportion. This piece represents how circumstances in life and the body itself can limit an individual.


Marion Michell

Soldier’s child

2012 – 2013

Crocheted from wool/polyester yarn

45cm x 26cm


My work hovers on the threshold between art and craft, image and object,

familiar and extra-ordinary shapes. I crochet pieces that skirt the border of reality

– it takes a second glance for the shapes to become unsettling. What kind of

bodies could inhabit these outfits? Does the body demand these shapes or the

other way around?



Graham Miller



C-Type print on metal sandwiched composite

150cm x 100cm

This photograph was taken in the shadow of a national rugby stadium as Calum

and his friends, all who have Downs Syndrome, participate in a professional rugby

coaching session. It is hoped that the dramatic composition, combined with sense

of movement and the clear delight on their faces, encourages viewers to re-assess





Cecilia Montague

Can Clean, Can’t Run


Stitched wool on paper

15cm x 25cm



‘Can Clean, Can’t Run’ is a work referencing what it can be like for disabled people.




Annie Morgan

My Left Hand. Stigmata / Hand

of Glory


Ink Drawing

25cm x 30cm


A few years ago, I took an overdose and then jumped under a train. I lost 2 fingers

on my left hand. Since then I have been unable to stop painting. These drawings

are an attempt to turn what could be seen as a mutilation into a symbol of beauty,

portraying value, meaning and grace.



Andrew Omading

A Book?


Mixed media – reclaimed textiles, thread, ink

200cm x 130cm


create large-scale autobiographical pieces reflecting my life and experiences

growing up in Uganda, leaving my homeland and moving to London. ‘A Book?’ tells

a colourful and varied story of a family outing.


Thomas Owen




A polyptych consisting of 16

individual portraits

23cm x 18cm


‘Susan’ consists of sixteen A5 portraits created during a series of visits to Camden

Arts Centre in London. They depict some of the people I met during my visits,

reflecting on particular elements of their appearance or personality that caught

my eye.



Jo Paul



Fabric, latex, metal fasteners,

silk hanger

60cm x 60cm x 10cm


As disabled people, we encounter discriminatory external attitudes that can

touch our inner psyches and unchecked these can hinder our sense of self.

‘Latent’, influenced by my experience of aerial performance work, illustrates the

delicate moments we wrestle with, often unconsciously, whether to allow these

experiences to atrophy our growth or persist towards our potential.




Evaldas Pauza

Figurant (A Dog Trainer is Ready for

a Dog Attack)



52cm x 30cm x 23cm

The perfect body is often depicted in classical sculpture. ‘Figurant (A Dog Trainer

is Ready for a Dog Attack)’ is an interpretation of such works, using the body of a

physically impaired man.



Bekki Perriman

Picking Holes


Destroyed copy of DSM-IV-TR

25cm x 17.5cm x 5cm

The DSM is the diagnostic manual that psychiatrists use to make a mental health

diagnosis. In ‘Picking Holes’, I have destroyed a copy of the DSM manual by drilling

holes right through the book, creating a metaphorical statement about the holes

in diagnosis. The work asks the viewer to see through the holes in labelling people

with a ‘disorder’.



Simon Raven

Mental Frame


Painted wooden frame samples

200cm x 10cm x 2cm


The word ‘Mental’ is sculpted from a collection of ornate picture frame samples,

placed together to suggest a ‘heavy metal’ band font. The work chimes with a

contemporary use of the word ‘mental’, as a catch-phrase to denote something

‘extraordinary’, or ‘difficult to describe’ (often in a positive light: ‘that show was

mental!’ etc), which resonates with shifting attitudes towards mental health.


Yvette Rawson



Inks and Collage

40cm x 30cm


‘Heart’ explores the belief that memories can have a gene that is present in internal

organs. Through this work I am showing my interest in the representation of

feelings, sensitivities, attitudes and prejudices of others towards difference.


Sally Redway

NUMB 1 and NUMB 2


Plaster and resin mix 3D print

NUMB 1: 17.5 cm x 8 cm x 8 cm; NUMB 2: 17.5 cm x 12 cm x 12 cm


The ‘NUMB’ series represents the idea that emotional trauma, as well as causing

what has been known as ‘mental illness’, motivates creative work – a positive

aspect of emotional disturbance. It explores the idea that emotional sensation is

in the body and that one way of coping with emotional trauma is to numb certain

emotions (i.e. numb parts of the body).


Ivan Riches



Acrylic on two types

of Polyester Satin with

pinpricks mounted on a

light box.

125cm x 107cm


‘Exploration’ presents the image of a figure with their hand almost touching the

boundary of the frame; a representation of me reaching out to my limits as a

disabled person. The limit is the frame – a self made construct and metaphor for

self-imposed boundaries




Christopher Sacre

Best of both Worlds


Digital Print on Canvas

59.4cm x 84.1cm


‘Best of both Worlds’ represents the two separate worlds in which I live; the ‘Deaf

World’ and the ‘Hearing World’. The colours are inspired by the Olympic rings and

signify our multicultural society. By presenting a world in which people meet and

work together across language and cultural differences, I am asking the audience to

re-assess their own manner of communication and inclusivity.


Tracy Simpson


…popped bubbles – it’s a wrap!…


C-Type print

30cm x 30cm


The photograph is a self portrait of my severely disabled hand cushioned in

protective bubble wrap. Is my hand piercing through the protective air pockets that

have stifled its desire to experience life and achievement on an equal footing, or is

it shattered as the bubbles are popped and wrap ripped away with increasing speed

by a Welfare Reform hungry society? You decide!


Monica Takvam


‘Description of My Face by Frances’ and

‘Description of Jonathan’s Face by Jane’ from the series ‘Blind’


Lambda C-Type photograph, Perspex with Braille, framed

54cm x 44cm (x2)


Forming part of a larger on-going project on blindness and perception, this work

seeks to explore eye-sight, sight-loss and portraiture. I invited participants to

describe someone close to them that they have never seen. The close-up portraits

are then overlaid with the transcribed description in Braille on a frosted, semitransparent




Will Thompson


It must always pay to work


Walnut woodcarving

60cm x 60cm


‘It must always pay to work’ explores the recent cuts made by the government and

the devaluation of disabled labour. The appropriation of the coalition’s mantra ‘it

must always pay to work’ is used to criticise on-going political events. The image of

a disabled person underneath bunting creates a pseudo-celebration.


The Vacuum Cleaner


The City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health


Altered Hackney bin

75cm x 47cm x 47cm


The City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health’ playfully draws attention to those

who experience mental health conditions and have been hospitalised because of

them. By presenting mental health hospitals in a form that they can be derogatorily

referred to, (that of a ‘loony bin’), it encourages the viewer to reconsider their

perception of psychiatric hospitals and those who are admitted to them.


Aminder Virdee

…And The Odds & Sods


Solid Maple Wood.

2.5cm x 2.5cm x 2.5cm


‘…And The Odds & Sods’ is a statement on The Work Capability Assessment

scandal in 2012, in which numerous disabled people lost their lives on a ruling,

by ATOS, that they were ‘fit to work’ and therefore stripped of the benefits they

require for their quality of life; ‘Their lives at a throw of a dice.’






Welcome Anomaly, part 2

2010 – 2013

Pearl and glitter embroidery on hard

material, assembly of mannequin,

porcelain and glass.

120cm x 50cm x 35cm


It is a common misconception that all people wish for healthy children.

Usually non-disabled parents are very concerned about foetal health. From

a disabled parent’s point-of-view, the recurrence of one’s own characteristics

in the offspring is not a tragedy – it may even feel familiar and safe. After all,

the biological purpose of reproduction is to transfer and copy the genome of

two individuals to the next generations and to bring forth offspring that resembles their ancestors.


Andy Wild

This is how they see me, how do you see you?


MRI Scan and mirror

44cm x 70cm x 2.5cm


‘This is how they see me, how do you see you?’ places the viewer in a position

where they first experience a medicalised portrait of a person. The viewer then

experiences a view of themselves.





Naomi Woddis


Enquiry (after Rokeby)


Black and White A3 framed


50cm x 40cm

Inspired by ‘The Rokeby Venus’ by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, I seek to

examine depictions of the female body, with reference to my own experience of living

with chronic invisible illness where I feel both unseen as well as under scrutiny.