Disability Topic of the Month: Art and Photography

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30th June 2022
disabled topic of the month art and photography

Hello Readers! My name is Toni-Marie. I will tell you just a little bit about my disability as I feel it is relevant. I have cerebral palsy quadriplegia and scoliosis of the spine. This means I am a full-time electric wheelchair user. 

Guest blogging author Toni-Marie

Art Adds Talent, Beauty, Debate, Vision and Colour to our World

When I think of arts and photography, I instantly think of all the different programmes that I like to watch on catch-up TV or Sky Arts when I make the time – all of which help me to indulge each one of my various creative passions in a way that suits me.

In my opinion, there are many different forms of art – and I am absolutely determined that it should not be seen or viewed as only being one thing or another. I am completely absorbed by dance, figure skating, fashion photography, portrait photography and food of the highest quality. All these different genres for me are the absolute epitome of art! 

I think we need to also bear in mind that not all disabled people find it particularly easy to be able to access art either physically or logistically. Therefore, it is great to have such shining examples of some of the best art around coming to us directly via our TV set.

My Passionate Pursuit of Art – My Favourite Art-Based TV Shows

I love programmes such as:

Grayson Perry Art Club

Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel 4

Grayson is an English contemporary artist, writer and broadcaster. In his programme, he explores many different types of art with an infectious passion and depth for his subject. The show is about Grayson’s conversations with other artists and about providing a platform for people to send in their own art to be displayed in Grayson’s exhibitions. I love watching this so much.

The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC1

This is a programme where amateur sewers take on a wide variety of different challenges. The winner of the series is crowned Britain’s Best Home Sewer. The programme is filled with beautiful fabrics and colours. I love to watch it as though I would be one of the sewers myself! It is judged by Esme Young and Patrick Grant. Together their knowledge, skill and expertise know no bounds. And I love learning from them in their critique too.

The Repair Shop on BBC One

This is a show where expert craftsmen/women pool all their different skills, knowledge and expertise together to repair and restore precious heirlooms owned by the general public. Two of the expert craftswomen on the show are my close friends, so, I may well be just a little biased! But it is a fabulous programme.

Speaking of art and repairs, please check out my friends’ venture Bear in Mind, where they craftfully clean and restore teddy bears and other soft toys.

Art and Portraits

portrait and documentary photographer Giles Duley

Portrait Photography has the power to awaken social consciousness in a way that verbal conversation does not. Do take a look at the work of portrait photographer Giles Duly who captures the monumental disasters of war and their consequences on civilians, all of whom are left devastated by war, illness and/or disability. I admire him so much. He himself lost three limbs in a tour of Afghanistan and has since become the CEO of The Legacy of War Foundation.

John Rankin Waddell, also known as Rankin is for me perhaps one of the world’s most iconic fashion photographers and directors. He has photographed the Queen, Kate Moss, David Bowie and many more. Rankin’s work is incredible, dynamic, edgy and powerful. I am simply in awe of his work.

I personally love impressionist/portrait artists such as Renoir. His later work celebrates the sheer beauty of women, something which I feel the women of our generation need more of in their lives today.

Art and Ice Dancing

When I think of Ice Dance, I immediately think of Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean performing the Bolero at the Winter Olympics in 1984. This was an incredibly beautiful piece of figure skating that has lived with me for all these years.

Accessible Arts on TV and Online

As I have already mentioned, the vast majority of disabled people find it more difficult to access the arts for a whole variety of different reasons. However, you can use the internet to have a virtual tour of different art venues or exhibitions. Or you can watch YouTube videos of your favourite art form.

Finally, I couldn’t let this opportunity slip by without mentioning the work of a very talented artist friend of mine – Peter Harrap!

Start now to find a wealth of beautiful art out there, as I hope to have demonstrated art can be found and explored in many ways.

Tap into your inner artist

Always see your ability and disability!

Thank you for reading

Toni-Marie x

Disclaimer: The views expressed are the author’s own.


  • ANGIE Alexander says:

    Oh Toni-Marie you never cease to amaze & inspire me. Thank you so much for this great review!! Angie xx

  • Dave says:

    Always a favourite read for me and this months does not disappoint, when I speak to people about your blog they always point out a particular and different bit to others that they really liked. Its quite a skill when the writer can hit the spot of many diverse readers in the same article, thank you and look forward to next months

  • Coach Sean says:

    Hi Toni-Marie, this is fantastic! I was actually in Kabul around the very time that Giles Duley documented the War Surgery hospital there! This just got me looking a little deeper and I was never aware of the programme ‘Walking Wounded : Return to the Frontline’ about his work in Kabul, I cannot wait to watch this now. He actually filmed this after his injuries too, remarkable story!

    Thanks so much, I have recently started a blog myself so always check in to read yours.

  • Zoe says:

    Hello Toni-Marie, I love your take on different art forms. It’s so refreshing to see ice skating included.
    Whilst I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite art, I must admit I am in awe of bakers and their skills. There is a show called ‘Extreme Cake Makers’ on channel 4 that is always a great watch. They are incredible!
    I’m currently catching up with The Great British Sewing Bee and always find myself wanting to give everything a go!
    Your friend’s site, Bear in Mind, is just wonderful. A memory bear is such a beautiful idea. I have struggled to part with my children’s baby clothes and it’s such a shame they are tucked away out of sight. We cannot wait to order our own little memory bears.
    Thank you for your views and inspiration! xx

  • Beth says:

    Great read Toni-Marie. Your flare for life is always wonderfully conveyed throughout your blogs.

    I will be catching up on The Great British Sewing Bee, I had never come across it until now, so thank you for the recommendation. It does strike similarities to one of my favorite shows, Interior Design Masters on BBC.

    I look forward, as always, to reading your next blog!

  • Sarah says:

    What a great review, thanks Toni-Marie! A really interesting prospective on making the arts accessible, looking forward to reading more.

  • Sarah says:

    What a great review, thanks Toni-Marie! A really interesting perspective on making the arts accessible, looking forward to reading more.

  • Dave S says:

    Great read Toni-Marie. I loved drawing as a kid and this has made me want to give it another go. keep up the great work.

  • Andy says:

    A really interesting read Toni-Marie, art is such a powerful medium of expression to capture moments in time, challenges, human endeavour as well being something to enjoy in its own right. Couple of items on here that I am going to look up so thanks for sharing this.

  • Nichola says:

    Such a fantastic inspirational read!
    It really is true art can be explored and demonstrated in more ways than most people realise, you really have shown and proved this.
    I can’t wait to read your next blog
    Thank-you so much for being an inspiration to so many.

  • Cat H says:

    Great Read, some programmes mentioned ive not heard off. I will be sure to give them a watch!

  • Matt Bowers says:

    Always a lovely read Toni-Marie,thanks for sharing

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