Tracks: Disability Culture in Rhode Island
We all leave marks in our environment - some of these marks are direct, like tracks in the snow, earth, grass, sand and water, some more subtle, as we keep track of one another in space.
As disabled people, we move differently, we inhabit our world differently. Our differences present another view of the world, and of what it means to lead a fulfilled life - and our shared world is richer for these different perspectives.
This photo/poem digital exhibit is part of a year-long disability culture arts series. During 2004, community artist Petra Kuppers collaborated with VSA Arts Rhode Island by creating disability culture workshops in various rural sites in Rhode Island. In these workshops, disabled artists came together, and explored their tracks in the world through dance, photography, earth art, and creative writing.
The digitally manipulated
color images collected here echo the creative sensualities and exciting differences that emerged
in our sessions. The black and white photographs on the right document our processes, and
show us working together. To go to larger images, click on the thumbnail images! The collaborative poems below speak of our relationship
to the landscapes we inhabit and to our creative processes.
|Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown: Sculpting with Coloured Clay|
|Burrillville Community Hall: Snow Tracks|
|Louett Library: Wood Chair|
|Goddard Park, Warwick: Beach Dancing|
|Misquamicut Beach: Nerve Growths|
|Smithfield: On the Edge of the Forest|
Feeling Trip (February, Burrillville)
Nature all around
Tickly soft pine
Crunchy brown leaves
Scrum of dirt water and snow
I was curious
Outside of Myself
Each a different sound
Cold, moving water
Hold Cold Acorns
Edge of the Tangled Wood
Big Snowball on Bill's Back
Just Before Dawn
Photo Op: Warming up to Winter
We used the sense of touch
Hard, Rough Rock
Poke Melting Slush
I think it was cool
Birds in Flight
Feeling and Freezing Like in a Photo
Woods in Winter
Which we always forget way too much
Smooth Wet Lily
Climb up the Tree
I like Snow very much
Ice and Light
Bringing Down the Walls of Isolation
Your hand touches mine
Warmth from Nearby Others
Meeting People in a New Way
It is very relaxing
It's cold, or hot, and
- Green Flash -
A Community of Never Mets
Smiling at Others
Draw me into Movement
By the Wind, Sailor
Shining Slowly Out
Invisible yet visible
Connecting with other Beings
Tracks has been exhibited in multiple sites in Rhode Island. We wish to address all participants in our wider culture, and therefore the images are inserted into everyday spaces, not only in art-framed venues. Exhibition sites include coffee shops in Newport, libraries in Glocester, universities and shopping malls. The images have also travelled to exciting multiplicator events, presenting the vibrancy of Rhode Island minority culture: they have been shown in arts for social change environments at Goddard College, Vermont, a community/performance conference at Bryant University, and in a People and Emotions exhibit in Singapore.
For more information on Tracks, associated artists, exhibitions and events, go to to the Tracks news site.
The Tracks project has been made possible through generous support by the Rhode Island Foundation.
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