October 20, 2019

Why Is It Our Responsibility To Inspire You?

Why Is It Our Responsibility To Inspire You?

Sasha Saben Callaghan, 64

Not Your Inspiration

As a disabled people we’re used to being objects of curiosity. Obviously ‘normal’ tax payers subsidise us so our ‘abnormal’ bodies are public property. This gives permission for intrusive questions to be asked. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘How did it happen?’ ‘How long have you been like that?’
Random strangers take it upon themselves to offer advice and even prayers. They tell us about wheat free diets, the benefits of bee stings, the name of a ‘wonderful’ chiropractor. They often have a relative who ‘used to be just like you’ but are now cured due to some amazing medical advance.
In order to comfort themselves, friends deny our identity, our reality. ‘Oh, I don’t like to think of you as disabled…’. But at the same time, we’re fantastic. Don’t ignore us, we’re inspirational.
This requirement for disabled people to inspire is a burden which has spawned an entire genre. Social media is awash with ‘disability inspiration’ memes. Enough!
‘Patience of a Saint’ is a counter to this narrative. It combines the striking images of two ‘pauper lunatics’ from a Victorian asylum with some of the worst offenders from the inspiration porn industry.
Compare and contrast. We’re not your inspiration.

Patience of a Saint, 2019Digital Collage297 mm x 210 mm