Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the lovely Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. Today’s podcast and blog post centers on the importance of art and how it is for anyone who has the desire and motivation to learn or work on. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…
I had noticed some people with some pretty serious mobility issues including missing limbs. Sometimes it happens in an accident, some are born missing limbs. Either way, they should not be just left with nothing to do. My life knowledge tells me that it is the recipe for a lot of unhappiness and a lot of getting into trouble or shutting down and losing interest in everything. This is neither healthy nor acceptable. Not in this day and age with today’s modern conveniences and/or good old fashioned art, everyone could stand a chance at developing a better life. Not only is there proof that art can be used as a therapy (https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_benefits_art_therapy_can_have_on_mental_and_physical_health), but there is also the ability to sharpen one’s skills and build new ones. It can also include lifelong learning for those who choose to continue to experience pleasure in their art.
So, with that in mind, I decided to explore the idea of art and disabilities further. My background was originally in learning and learning disabilities, so I had not known a lot about physical disabilities. Not everyone can become Stevie Wonder (famous blind singer/songwriter) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevie_Wonder or Beethoven (deaf composer) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_van_Beethoven or even Arnulf Erich Stegmann (artist lost use of his arms due to polio and first president of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists around the World) https://second.wiki/wiki/arnulf_erich_stegmann Note also that two of the three were not born with the disability. In all cases, they had a talent and they used it.
When it comes closer to the Maritimes, there was Maud Lewis who started doing art in childhood. She had physical differences and had severe arthritis which progressively worsened, but she could paint https://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/maud-lewis. In the case of Lisa Bufano http://ava.ac/bufano.html she developed her art in early adult life. She was not born with a disability. So, it doesn’t make a difference whether the disability came when someone was born or develops later in life. If someone has the desire they can develop some artistic life.
Disabilities are not something new to society. As far back as ancient times, people like Julius Caesar was known to have suffered from a seizure disorder yet was a great leader https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability_in_ancient_Rome#cite_note-bruschi-19. However, he may have been an exception rather than the rule at that time. There were some notable exceptions. In ancient Rome, some disabilities were seen as more acceptable than others. Sadly, and not that very long ago, people with disabilities were hidden away or kept at home. We, I hope, no longer do this and help everyone to build themselves into the best version of themselves. Age is no deterrent either.
The whole point is that art can be for everyone. There have been blind authors (John Milton who was blind when he wrote most of his best works)https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(12)60139-6/fulltext. There have been artists, sculptors, musicians and artisans of all sorts who have had disabilities. They have found a rewarding life as an author, artist, sculptor, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to what people can do. More modern technology has added other things to the arts. This makes it possible for even more people to experience the joy of art. Even now, if someone wants to be an author with complete lack of limbs, there are modern technological advances that can work to help them and everyone to be productive as they wish. Cell phones can now capture your voice and you can do blog posts, podcasts, books, e-books, paintings, 3D carvings. It is only limited by your interest and motivation to learn the chosen field.
The other great thing about any types of artist endeavours is that they can be a form of therapy that allows you to get out your frustrations on canvas, paper, electronic recording and distribution of thoughts. There are different forms of art and if one had an interest in something before becoming disabled or were born disabled and form an interest in something particular, then follow up on it. There is nothing to lose in doing so especially online with the variety of options one can have to get online. If nowhere else, the library often has computer access. Many avenues can be explored for very little input of money. For another example, if you just wanted to see if painting would work, liquidation stores, dollar stores, and even your handy big box store has a range of reasonable priced supplies. All you have to lose is a lot of frustrations and use some pent up energy. If you hate it, well, at least you tried something new. Keep looking what you really want out of life might be right around the corner.
Disability is not inability. We are, hopefully, long past the days of hiding people away just for having a disability. People need to revel in who they are. Remember, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself. If one is determined to succeed, then they are already half way there. They have found the important ingredient of motivation and of determination. No one is incapable of doing anything. Everyone is capable of doing something. So, if the first time is hard, don’t give up, give it a fair try. The only thing you have to lose is boredom.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (President of the USA and suffered the effects of polio who had to be in a wheel chair https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt) was quoted as saying, “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” So, we see that disability does not mean inability and that everyone has some kind of talent or ability and everyone should be given the opportunity to try to develop it. I see there are jewelry makers that have partial limb loss, sculptors who use their feet. If you want a more comprehensive listing, there is an article by Bored Panda that gives a larger listing. https://www.boredpanda.com/inspiring-disabled-artists/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic. Not only is art for everyone, but for some it can become a livelihood! For someone who has a disability, I would suggest finding something they loved or is interesting to them, if it is drawing, you can find a way to do it. If it is painting, you can find a way to do it. If it is writing, you can find a way to do it. The most important thing to remember is that you need to do it. This applies to anyone and everyone. Often the fear of failing at something will stop people from trying. You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you also cannot succeed.
According to Alexander the Great, “There is nothing impossible to him who will try”. Alexander the Great didn’t have a disability, however, his brother is purported to have a mental disability. I like to think that is what taught Alexander the Great the importance of persistence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_III_of_Macedon). It is only the family of someone who has a serious disability who understands the amount of persistence and motivation that a person with a serious disability has to have. No matter what type of disability someone may have, there is always something that a person can do. Don’t underestimate anyone’s ability. Disability never means inability!
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
Just one more thing. I have one of my children’s e-books up for a 2021 TCK award Category is General Non-Fiction. https://www.tckpublishing.com/2021-readers-choice-voting-page/ The Big Kids Magical Path to Colours in Nature (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093K2FN4M/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_GBTXKZW5EVAX2C92PCY1). If you have a moment, we could use some votes.
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