Disability Aesthetics and Agency in Portraiture


I create portraits of queer disabled people in my community. In this series, I explore how to navigate the representation of disabled people in portraiture by questioning different historical and modern forms of disability aesthetics in art and media. By prioritizing the sitter’s role in the creation of their portraits as one of the core elements of my practice, I attempt to mitigate the dilemma of determining how to best depict and represent disabled people authentically while avoiding harmful and ableist tropes. I am inspired both by portraitists such as Riva Lehrer, Alice Neel, and Clarity Haynes, along with other disability justice activists, scholars, and disabled artists, such as Bob Flanagan, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Alice Wong, who have influenced stylistic and conceptual aspects of this series, and by extension, its accompanying zine. Ultimately, my thesis culminates with an exhibition show, purposefully centering themes of accessibility and viewer engagement in its design.



disability, disabled, queer, disability theory, queer theory, crip theory, accessibility, painting, portraits, portraiture, art, studio art, disability justice, media