COMBATING THE HISTORICAL MARGINALIZATION OF
PERSONS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS THROUGH ART

CONCEPT

In 2010, the process of photographing and painting my sister elucidated two things for me: First, regardless of my family’s positivity towards her conditions, she was nonetheless embarrassed to be photographed or scrutinized, and second, no artists were currently representing her interests in a non-exploitative manner.

I created five portraits, six by five feet wide, that celebrated the beauty of each participant and his or her life for my Senior Thesis at Auburn University. I began with an interview and photography session with each person and their family. Through the painting process we continued to contact and check in with each other,  and the final show became something of a red-carpet event for the families and their children. 

This series continues today in different ways, from creating private portraits with families to works specifically for non-profits. Today, almost one-fifth of Americans have a physical, intellectual, or sensory-oriented disability according to the National Organization on Disabilities. They represent a large portion of society who will not be ignored.