Disability Topic of the Month: Art and Photography

June 30, 2022
Art gallery with with wall filled of paintings and photographs

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.

Art Adds Talent, Beauty, Debate, Vision And Colour To Our World

When I think of the 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! These programmes help me to indulge 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 of which for me are the absolute epitome of art.

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 TV Programmes

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. Apart from talking to other artists, Grayson provides a platform for people to send in their own art to be displayed in his exhibitions. I love watching it so much.

The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC1

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

The Repair Shop on BBC One

In this show, expert craftspeople with different skillset and expertise come together to repair and restore precious heirlooms owned by the general public. Two of the close friends of mine also feature in ths show as the experts!

My Favourite Photographers

John Rankin Waddell, is in my opinion, one of the most Iconic Fashion Photographers and Directors in the world. He has photographed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Moss, David Bowie and many more. I would describe his work as incredible, dynamic, edgy and powerful. I am simply in awe of his work! 

Portrait Photography also has the power to awaken social consciousness in a way that verbal conversation does not. The best example of this is the work of portrait photographer Giles Duly, who captures the monumental disasters of war and it’s consequences on civilians left devastated by war, illness or disability. Giles has himself lost three limbs in a tour of Afghanistan and then went on to become CEO of The Legacy of War Foundation.

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

Dance as an Art Form

When I think of Ice Dance, I immediately think of Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean performing Bolero at the Winter Olympics in 1984. That

was an incredibly beautiful piece of Figure Skating that has lived with me for all these years.

Get Googling!

As I have already mentioned, the vast majority of disabled people find it more difficult to access the arts. However, you can use the Internet to have a virtual tour of many of the different art venues or exhibitions or you can watch a variety of YouTube videos of your choice.

Finally I couldn’t let this opportunity slip by without mentioning the work of a very talented artist friend of mine named Peter Harrap! Visit his website if you can and you’ll find a wealth of beautiful art there.

 As I hope to have demonstrated, art can be found and explored in many different ways, tap into your inner artists today. Always see your ability and disability!

Thank you for reading!

Toni-Marie x

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

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