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Portal documents a performance by Sue Austin in a swimming pool in Eqypt in 2007. Austin was exploring ways of transcending stereotypes in society and representing a strong and empowered image of disability. While capturing something of the experience of finding one’s identity being ‘submerged’ by prejudice when acquiring a disability, another layer of meaning explored within this work is the reshaping of cultural stereotypes associated with the wheelchair. By creating a surreal juxtaposition, the intention is to create a visceral response and open up a new thinking space. This has the potential to reshape the preconceptions of the viewer, presenting the wheelchair as an object that acts as a ‘portal’ which can take us through to unexpected new ways of experiencing the world.

Title Portal
Artist Sue Austin
Year 2008
Medium Digital C-type archival print mounted on Dibond
Dimensions 90 x 82 (cm)
Image description Photographic artwork that captures an underwater performance piece. At the bottom of a traditional-style tiled swimming pool, central to the image, is a woman sat in a wheelchair. She wears a black floral dress and swimming goggles. Her hair is being pulled up above her head by the water and she is blowing small bubbles from her nose.
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