Juried art exhibition
Crip Strength: Art + Body + Mind will explore the concept of what is “normal” when it comes to disability. Through art, many artists who are Deaf and/or disabled are questioning assumptions of normality in how the mind and body perform. Deaf and/or disabled artists have much to share and teach the larger art community about access, creative problem solving and adaptation. These concepts have long been necessary for Deaf and/or disabled artists to participate in the larger arts community and have become even more relevant to the larger society as we live through a pandemic that requires us to self-isolate and find creative solutions to reach one another through alternative means.
Thank you to all our sponsors and funders. Crip Strength was generously funded by:
An access guide was created to allow for ease of participation. Scroll own on this page below the visual artists exhibition to view the guide.
Recording of Crip Strength: Art + Body + Mind at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights:
Candace Lipischak is a multidisciplinary artist and Métis workshop facilitator. Born and raised on Treaty 1 territory, they are inspired by nature and their French Métis Polish background. Candace’s work is part of various collections, private and corporate, such as TDS Law, Ceridian, as well as the Niverville Community Resource and Recreation Centre. They are also the owner/designer of Fat Daug (short for Father/Daughter), offering unique and organic antler jewelry.
As a visual artist living with MS and PTSD in rural Manitoba, it is important for to me to be able to create from home and at my own pace.
By incorporating objects recovered from my property such as old tin, it is my way of using what’s on-hand instead of relying on supplies from a store which isn’t always convenient or accessible. Recycling, reducing my carbon footprint, and applying the phrase ‘what can I do with this?’ has expanded my mind in creating art using items that co-existed with nature.
Carla Sierra Suarez
Carla Sierra Suarez is a Mexican artist and visual storyteller based in Tkaronto. Her work is autobiographical in nature and explores her identities as disabled, mentally ill, and neurodivergent. Carla’s work is vulnerable and brings light to issues that have been often stigmatized. Her practice is a direct reflection of what “normal” means to people like herself. It speaks of our collective truth, our reality, and our lived experiences.
“Is It Worth It?” follows a 50-day adjustment period of medication where I asked myself every day whether the medication was working, and whether the challenges were worth it. Written in bottles and placed on a medical cabinet are the varying answers.
“2015-2020” follows the seemingly endless medication changes I had to endure after a psychiatric hospitalization for suicide. Documenting 5 years of changes, struggles, ups, and downs. A raw insight into the challenges we face as Disabled and Mad people when it comes to being medicated and treated.
Marie LeBlanc is a self-taught multidisciplinary disability artist. Through photography, multimedia projection, short film, performance and wordsmithing she explores themes related to landscape, isolation, beauty, health and nature. Capturing faces, shapes, shadows and reflections with digital and on-camera effects, often superimposing her own reflection, she seeks to embrace the present moment and the ethereal world around her.
In the winter months, Marie travels to the U.S. desert in a cargo van adapted for safe housing to ease the symptoms of Environmental Sensitivities. LeBlanc has participated in the Making Our Mark II Printmaking Mentorship Program at Martha Street Studio, the Artist In Residency Program at Artbeat Studio and the Art Salon Program at Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba.
This is a short film by Marie LeBlanc, exploring the effects that Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and other Environmental Illnesses have on sufferers when the illnesses are not acknowledged by the medical community. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Environmental Illness Awareness and Acknowledgement is the winner of the June 2021 Royal Wolf Film Festival Platinum Award for Best Short Documentary. http://royalwolfawards.com/ The film won recognition in the film festival circuit from Royal Wolf Film Awards, The Impact DOCS Awards and Accolade Global Film Competition.
My name is Meagan Hoskins. I’m an artist living here, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I have a strong passion for human empathy, human rights, and human diversity. My artwork interacts with everyone differently and each piece has its own story to tell. Whether one of joy or peace, loss or fear, or sometimes just one of pure silliness, I’m always try to connect!
Artificial Intelligence allows me to create almost endlessly all that is in the mind’s eye and beyond it. I’ve never known such an accessible format of creating art. As my health declines, my imagination and contributions to the art world do not need to follow suit! I feel inspired, hopeful, and free! I hope you feel the same.
Ryan Smoluk is a powerful self-advocate and a seasoned spokesperson for autism awareness and neurodiversity.
Ryan’s passion is to create art and works obsessively to do what he loves. Ryan continues to exhibit his artwork in galleries. He has a very unique style that is original to him. His artworks feature multi-layered detail which explores the way that Ryan sees the world. Ryan feels that autism is both a blessing and a curse.
In creating this project, I hope to change negative attitudes and to encourage more dialogue. I strive to create art that illustrates unconventional ideas through conventional or well recognized cultural symbols. My inspiration comes from my own life experiences.
On first impression the viewer will connect with a pleasant memory from childhood, when they played with a toy phone and chatted endlessly into the receiver assuming the world was listening. As the viewer look closer and walks around this sculpture, they will notice the human faces appearing. This piece has now taken on a more macabre sinister feel. The phone cord adds another dimension to this piece. It is made up of a collection of hair cut from people in our community who struggle with their mental health. It represents the frayed ends of sanity.
Sacha was born and raised in rural Manitoba. She holds degrees from University of Winnipeg in International Development and Environmental Studies, and a BFA from NSCAD University. Sacha has worked in social and environmental justice for most of her career and is a practising artist, primarily working in cast glass, metalsmithing, and oil painting. The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council, and thanks Lorna Kopelow, Ione Thorkelsson, Kevin Friedrich, and Emily Raho for their kind assistance.
‘Girl’ is an embodiment of the bravery, uncertainty, and investigative gambling that can be a part of a disabled person’s everyday existence. We navigate life without the benefit of so-called ’normal’ society’s map. We are forced to forge our own paths, tailored to the often-fluctuating capacities of our mind/body. In this way, we can encounter beauty and revelation that would otherwise be overlooked, and we may also grapple with fear, grief, and limitation. ‘Girl’ is cautious and curious, intrepidly examining her reality, living in the moment, experiencing.
Susan Aydan Abbott
Susan Aydan Abbott is a multidisciplinary artist. currently living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Holding lived experience with mental illness, homelessness, addiction and abuse, she is a strong vocal advocate for social justice. Likewise, her art practice most often explores themes pertaining to rape culture and violence against women.
Abbott has shown in solo, group shows locally and nationally as well as attended residencies in Hamilton Ontario (Center3) and Feminist art Collective in Toronto. Her work was spotlighted on Canada Council website in 2018
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there’
The situation that inspired this piece was the immediate aftermath of a failed suicide attempt after the death of my youngest daughter.
They gave me charcoal and pumped my stomach.
Unaware of how I seemed, I immediately headed outside the hospital to ask for a smoke, when I was met with the strangest looks.
Then I noticed my reflection in the massive glass panes.
Yvette Cenerini (née Lagimodière) is a francophone Métis visual artist from Treaty One Territory. Her work in photocollage examines the intricacies of relationships and emotions through a simple aesthetic. Having obtained both a BEd (2001) and a BFA (2010), knowledge-sharing through art in the forms of teaching and community engagement is an important facet of her practice.
Paper doll self-portraits help me imagine what moving by own body might feel like. The movable doll helps viewers understand the helplessness I feel in my dependence on others to survive. The intent is to desensitize the public to the sight of a disabled body and to empower them to assume their societal role of caring for others.
To ensure accessibility and ease of access at Crip Strength, an Access Guide has been created which includes information of the venue (Canadian Museum of Human Rights), how to travel to the event, available accessibility accommodation, who to contact for assistance, how to access the event virtually, details about the festival performers and what to expect, glossary of terms, and other pertinent information for those attending the event.
ASL Version of Guide:
Table of Contents:
Introduction and Accessibility Statement
What is an Arts Festival? What is Crip Strength?
What is a Land Acknowledgment?
Why was the CMHR Selected to host Crip Strength?
How Do I Get There?
What Are Some Accessibility Features?
How to Use Zoom
How to Can I Make Crip Strength Safe and Inclusive?
Who Can I Contact for Assistance?
What are Some Words the Will be Used, A-C
What are Some Words the Will be Used, D-I
What are Some Words the Will be Used, L-N
What are Some Words the Will be Used, P-R
What are Some Words the Will be Used, T-W
Speakers, Emcee Lara Rae
Speakers, Diane Driedger
Speakers, The Hon. Patrica Bovey, FRSA, FCMA
Performers, Adam Schwartz
Performers, Emily Farriage
Performers, Kathy Arnold
Performers, Natalie Sluis and Anne Neudorf
Visual Artists, Candace Lipischak
Visual Artists, Carla Sierra Suarez
Visual Artists, Marie LeBlanc
Visual Artists, Meagan Hoskins
Visual Artists, Ryan Smoluk
Visual Artists, Sacha Kopelow
Visual Artists, Susan Aydan Abbott
Visual Artists, Yvette Cenerini