by Lubna Irfan
The 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Aligarh, in association with Moinuddin Ahmad Art Gallery, Aligarh Muslim University, organized a unique event on “Disability and Artistic Expression” on October 06, 2018.
It was a historic programme on the under-represented subject of Disability and Arts in India. Unlike the usual art exhibitions by the disabled artists in India which generally do not have the theme of disability as a focus, this event had paintings of non-disabled students on the theme of disability in an empowering manner, poetry recitations including self-composed and selected poems of disabled poets and talks on Disability Art Movement and Disability Poetry.
The program began with the talk by Dr. Boopathi P, Assistant Professor, Department of English, AMU on the topic of Disability and Arts. Boopathi in his talk traced the construction of “Normal” and “Ability” and explained how Disability Art emerged in the mid of 1970s to counter such condescending constructions.
Further, by analyzing the emergence of Disability Art Movement in the West, he discussed how it contributed to the larger Disability Rights Movement to counter the Charity and Medical model of disability which views disability as a personal tragedy.
Boopathi concluded his talk by appealing that more such events should be organized to spread awareness about disability in various parts of India. He congratulated the organizers for having thought of a unique topic like this.
Dr. Jyothsna Phanija spoke extensively on understanding disability through poetry. She spoke of how a visually challenged person experiences nature and draws inspiration from it. She through her poems showed how she too can ‘paint’ a river but through her words.
She gave deeply personal accounts of her everyday experiences with disability. She read out poems that gave insights to how differently a physically challenged person encounters things. She congratulated the Aligarh Muslim University fraternity to have taken up the issue of disability in all its seriousness.
The event was presided over by the Chief Guest for the afternoon, Dr.(Mrs) Hameeda Tariq. The event was jointly organised by Prof. Badar Jahan (Coordinator, Moinuddin Ahmad Art Gallery), Ms. Alisha Ibkar (Area Representative, 100 Thousand Poets for Change) and Lubna Irfan (Area Representative, 100 Thousand Poets for Change) .