Through a series of photographs and corresponding poems, artist Erin Schalk examines individual and societal perceptions of disability – both visible and invisible – and poses the questions: How do ideas of ability and disability impact a person’s life experiences? How much of the ‘impairments’ or ‘deficits’ often associated with disabilities hinge upon societal preconceptions, misunderstandings, or imposed limitations?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schalk's son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the early stages of diagnosis, a professional psychologist explained to Schalk that upon closer evaluation of her son, she began to see "all of the cracks under the surface." In those first painful moments, Schalk recognized how far we need to go to understand and support disability -- not as an ironclad list of immovable and negative diagnostic criteria -- but as a way of interacting with the world that comes with inherent gifts.
Each individual photographed in this exhibition, including the artist (Erin, chronic auto-immune dysfunction), and the artist's son (Brendan, ASD), experiences some form of disability according to the criteria outlined by the ADA. Additional artists featured include: (1) Mona, a professional dancer with visual impairment, (2) Marleena, a vocalist with albinism, (3) Okja, a visual artist with total blindness, (4) Kylie, a visual artist and poet with visual impairment, and (5) Stephanie, a professional commercial artist with visual impairment.
Schalk highlights a combination of the following: physical features, expressions that reveal aspects of each artist's personality, daily challenges, and significant abilities that exist because of disability. In so doing, she comments on the immense power of human perception -- asking the viewer to briefly see the world through each individual's eyes.
Below is an Audio Tour of the Exhibit.
Take a Free Online Poetry Classes in April with Erin Schalk
Friday, April 7th from 1:00 - 2:30 PM Pacific Time, Please register here.
Tuesday, April 11th from 3:00 - 4:30 PM Pacific Time, Please register here.
(Eye) Contact by Erin Schalk
I didn’t notice them
but see now
forehead, the steep
of my cheekbones
Flame flash behind
your eyes, soaking
In the thoughts behind mine —
leaving, like the shadowed
glimmer of stars, just
Mona's Hair in Motion by Erin Schalk
Marleena Blowout White Cane by Erin Schalk
Praise Poem for a Body Saturated by Erin Schalk
This guide has been created by the CCC Librarians in support of the Clovis Community College Gallery Exhibitions. It is intended to provide students and our community with resources about the concepts on display and related to the exhibition. If you have any questions, please contact Alicia Diaz Wrest, Librarian email@example.com.
Please note, we may add resources to this page throughout the month. Please check back regularly for updated information.