Visit the exhibition (from 2 August 2021)

Building on the international success of the first-ever online Shape Open in 2020, The Future is Loading, the exhibition returns to screens this summer with fresh perspectives from 24 disabled and nondisabled artists working across Europe and North America. The Shape Open is an annual exhibition curated in response to a disability-centred theme, promoting conversation around topics often sidelined in artistic debate, creatively produced by Shape Arts.

All Bound Together? (launching 2 August 2021) centres nuanced meditations on the impact and experience of a year in which freedom, health, and inequality have been at the cultural fore. With disabled people making up one third of Covid-19 deaths and millions of people set to live with Long Covid in the coming years, Shape Arts is amplifying the valuable insight of marginalised artists at the same moment their voices risk being forgotten and disconnected as society ‘returns to normal.’ The exhibition will be hosted on a bespoke website built by Frontwards Design.

Exhibiting as part of All Bound Together? are: Abi Palmer, Akissi Nzambi, Annie Crawford, Catherine Cleary, Colin Lievens, Emelia Kerr Beale, Funmi Lijadu, Georgia Murphy, Juan del Gado, Louis Blue Newby, Mathilda Roach Osbourne, Melissandre Varin, Mote Scherr, Natalee Decker, Oriele Steiner, Rach Wellbeing, Robin Smith, Rowan Riley, Sarah Yu Zeebroek, Shadi Al-Atallah, Steven Fraser, Yo-Yo Lin.

David Hevey, Shape CEO and Artistic Director said: “We have been through grim locked-down times which have shown that society is now even more unequal. Responding creatively, these Shape Open 2021 artists take on that inequality and take apart the idea that ‘we will get through this together’. Shape is proud to champion these disabled and nondisabled artists, many of whom were hit hard by lockdown and who live at the sharp end of modern times, as they creatively question where diversity, disabled people, and other outsiders will be in the ‘new normal’ emerging from lockdown.”

Elinor Hayes, Curator, Shape Arts said: “It was largely due to the innovation and dedication of creatives that many of us made it through lockdown; streaming content, experiencing culture from our couches. And yet, as we ‘reopen,’ it is culture that is most at risk. A similar parallel exists for disabled people, who’s understanding of the importance of community and care has been a vital resource. At this juncture, when all the adaptations that have made contemporary life liveable risk being reversed, this exhibition carefully unravels the threads that have tied us together at the moment they’re most likely to fray.”

Visit the exhibition