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ArtAbility: Giving Differently Abled Artists a Platform

  • Published: 2013-09-17 : David W Bedwell (OBVIUS ACCESS -
  • Synopsis: ADEC organized the first of their now annual ArtAbility Exhibitions held in December each year at Federation Square in Melbourne.

Main Document

Quote: "There is no limit to the various ways that Art can be a means towards equitable recognition of personal ability..."

Throughout history there are examples of artists living with disability whom have found international recognition through their production of amazing works of art. Unfortunately few received the recognition and reward they deserved within their lifetimes.

Opportunities for Artists living with disability to exhibit their skills do not yet occur in sufficient numbers in Australia there are an incredible number of talented Artists nationwide. All that is needed is an increase in locations and organizations with the enthusiasm to provide the opportunity to Exhibit and resultantly further the opportunity for artists to express themselves in a way that transcends any impairment in order to be recognized for their skill and ability.

There is an opportunity in Australia now thanks to ADEC (Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc.) originally established in 1982 "Empowering people with disabilities from ethnic backgrounds" In 2005 ADEC organized the first of their now annual ArtAbility® Exhibitions which are held in December each year at Federation Square in Melbourne. Each year the exhibitions have a chosen theme typically "Dreams" "Destinations" have been subjects.

There is no limit to the various ways that Art can be a means towards equitable recognition of personal ability, and now thanks to ADEC and other charities and exhibitions a growing form of awareness is being established which should enable the path of progress to become wider and wider for every artist living with disability beginning with the first opportunity of self expression within art.

Such has been the success, and the quality of works displayed at the earlier exhibitions that ArtAbility® has enabled a level of recognition and public acclaim to be achieved for the talent and skill of the exhibiting artists. In several instances this has resulted in the pinnacle of achievement for an artist namely of an individual public exhibition of their own works which in turn provides inspiration for others to follow.

Examples of ADEC's "ArtAbility®" exhibited mediums are paintings in oil, acrylic, and ink sketches, sculptures tapestries, photographs, and poetry. You can be assured that a visit to this years' ArtAbility® Exhibition in Melbourne will be rewarding and stimulating. I challenge you not to be inspired by what you experience when you consider every one of these artists and thousands of others worldwide have overcome the challenge of living with disability to provide you with an object to admire.

My thanks are due to ADEC (Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities Inc) for their consent to enable me to use "ArtAbility®" as a part title for my trilogy of articles, for more information on ADEC see

David W Bedwell is an Access Consultant in Australia and a director of OBVIUS ACCESS for more articles by him and the other two in his "ArtAbility®" trilogy see

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