We Exist – Mind Harm Weblog TORONTO

We Exist – Mind Harm Weblog TORONTO

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IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A pencil sketch created by the creator of a girl sitting on the ground in opposition to a wall. Her knees are bent, her head down, and her lengthy hair is protecting her face. Her left hand is protecting her left ear, and her proper arm is cradling her head. She is carrying jogging pants that say ‘Adidas’ on the left leg. The pencil sketch is drawn on lined paper, which is reduce out surrounding the picture on the highest, and gently ripped on the underside after which positioned over one other white piece of paper.


Introduced on the Mind Harm Society Toronto’s annual expressive artwork present: Artwork on the Mind (Meeting Corridor, 2023) in Toronto, Ontario.

My doctoral analysis on the College of Toronto investigates incapacity research and social justice training by way of a incapacity research perspective. Devon Healey (my educational advisor) writes about her life experiences as a Blind lady in her e-book, Dramatizing Blindness: Incapacity Research as Important Inventive Narrative (2021). Devon explains that Blind was what she was, not who she was (Healey, private communication, September 21, 2022). These phrases now affect and encourage my very own writing—my very own paintings. And right here is the place I interact with a politics of surprise (Titchkosky, 2011). 

Who I assumed I used to be.

My preliminary understanding of my private id was intrinsically interconnected with incapacity. I internalized this notion of what it meant to “stay with the consequences of mind harm.” I’m understood as “a brain injury survivor.” 

How does the phrase “survivor” outline what and who I’m? Is my id synonymous with surviving, struggling to get by?

Is surviving actually all that my life shall be? Is that this what my paintings says to the world? Is that this what my paintings has to supply? As if to go away my ghost to float by way of the world as a partial and incomplete individual?

Is that this the message I need to painting with my paintings, my writing? Is that this what I need to say? My artwork makes me surprise: How does the ready world make sense of us?

My imaginative and prescient of incapacity was once anchored within the core perception that incapacity was meant to be one thing ignored, marginalized, poverty stricken, and problematic (Mitchell, 2002). 

I noticed my “outdated self” as a creature that died. And the damaged, leftover items are all I’ve left to work with. By taking these fragments and piecing them collectively solely to be made into public artwork, we (as disabled folks) are placed on show for the world to see (Garland-Thompson, 2002). Society watches us and judges us irrespective of the place we would transfer on the planet.

And I ponder, is this what I need the world to see?

However who’s eyes can we paint our artwork for? Are we really portray our ache onto paper and canvas for the stranger’s eyes to see? Will we draw and sketch and scribble and splatter color on a web page to say: 

Have a look at me.

Have a look at my incapacity.

Have a look at the analysis that designates my id as a brain injury survivor.

Ask me this query. Ask me: Who’s my artwork made for?

My artwork is supposed for me. My artwork is an explosive expression of how I course of and expel the items of my life that I can’t but make sense of. Mind harm generally takes away my skill to search out the phrases and the language and the emotion that may clarify to myself what I really feel and the way I navigate my life with incapacity.

Let me let you know, my life makes slightly extra sense once I paint its items on a web page. My life finds construction once I scratch my poetry in my pocket book or on the again of my hand. I don’t need to lose myself or neglect this a part of my life. My life shouldn’t be about ready for issues to get higher. It has been 5 years, 2 months, and three days since my first concussion. Life is completely different. Issues are completely different right here on this new world of mine (Michalko, 2017). 

I nod together with Rod Michalko (1999) as he describes his introduction to blindness, “abnormal life was now not abnormal; every part was wrapped in a cloak of hysteria…. worry, and confusion” (p. 2).

Let me let you know how I actually believed that I used to be the primary person who this had ever occurred to. I lay at midnight with a pillow over my head and I requested nobody specifically: 

Why is that this taking place to me?

Why am I alone?

What am I presupposed to do?

I can’t be the one one who feels this manner. Statistics inform me that Ontario is dwelling to 500,000 brain injury survivors (Ontario Mind Harm Affiliation [OBIA], 2021). However the place are they? The place did you go?

Let me let you know, it was a chunk of artwork that discovered me. A chunk of artwork painted on a concrete wall, hiding within the aspect streets of Toronto. A concrete piece of “incapacity artwork” that known as my title and mentioned to me: 

I’m right here. And I really feel similar to you.

Let me let you know how I adopted that paintings and I discovered extra members of that very same disabled household, filled with artists that perceive precisely how I really feel. Paint, pencil, pastel, chalk, charcoal, clay, crayon, marker, music, phrases, tales, songs, sounds that every one imply one thing to someone.

And perhaps this artwork resonates with you. Perhaps this artwork exhibits you one thing completely different … a life that you’ve by no means had to consider dwelling. 

Perhaps this artwork reminds you of somebody you used to know. Somebody from highschool, or somebody you might have seen on TV or within the information.

My artwork shouldn’t be particular due to a incapacity. My artwork is a reconning. My artwork shouldn’t be up for debate or theoretical evaluation. That’s not what that is about. That’s not who it’s for.

My artwork is incapacity artwork as a result of my artwork calls out to those on the market who assume that they’re the primary and just one to stay with the consequences of mind harm. Those who really feel alone. Those who’re misplaced and want us to name them again dwelling. To not be a part of a membership. To not label them with a reputation that they have no idea or need.

My artwork is like propaganda. My artwork says: we exist.

The creator, Hilary Pearson, talking at BIST’s Expressive Artwork Present Launch on Might seventeenth, 2023 at Meeting Corridor. She is standing on the touchdown of a staircase, protected by glass and is behind a podium. She is talking right into a microphone. There are giant home windows behind her.


Meeting Corridor. (2023, Might 17). Mind Harm Society Toronto: Artwork on the mind. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Garland-Thomson, R. (2002). The politics of staring: Visible rhetoric’s of incapacity in well-liked pictures. In, S. L. Snyder, B. J. Brueggemann, & R. Garland-Thomson (Eds.), Incapacity research: Enabling the humanities (pp. 56-75). New York: Trendy Language Affiliation of America.

Healey, D. (2021). Dramatizing blindness: Incapacity research as essential inventive narrative. Literary Incapacity Research Sequence, Palgrave Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Michalko, R. (1999). The 2-in-one: Strolling with Smokie, strolling with blindness. Temple College Press.

Michalko, R. (2017). Issues are completely different right here: and different tales. Insomniac Press.

Mitchell, D. (2002). Narrative prosthesis and the materiality of metaphor. In, S. L. Snyder, B. J. Brueggemann, & R. Garland-Thomson (Eds.), Incapacity research: Enabling the humanities (pp. 15-31)New York: Trendy Language Affiliation of America.

Ontario Mind Harm Affiliation (OBIA). (2021). Social isolation focus teams – remaining report. Mind harm speaks stakeholder engagement community of Ontario. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from https://obia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Social-Isolation-Focus-Groups_Final-Report.pdf 

Pearson, H. (2023, Might 17). We exist[Spoken word presentation]. Mind Harm Society Toronto: Artwork on the mind. Meeting Corridor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Titchkosky, T. (2011). In direction of a politics of surprise in incapacity research. In, T. Titchkosky (Ed.), The query of entry (pp. 129–150).College of Toronto Press. 

Concerning the Writer

Hilary Pearson is a doctoral scholar on the College of Toronto. Making use of interpretive incapacity research, her educational work explores the methods through which Western tradition understands what it means to be human.

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