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Equal but…

The more articles I write, the more I see that we are capable of just about anything which our minds can conceive. I think when we realise that we were created with greatness on the inside; we wouldn’t be so quick to give up on our dreams or to think of them as a waste of time, wishful thinking or an impossibility.

With less than 50 days to go before the spectacle that the London 2012 Paralympic Games is expected to be, another event will take place which will showcase a programme of commissions by Deaf and Disabled artists as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Unlimited is a London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project which “celebrates disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale and encourages disabled and deaf artists to push beyond their personal best alongside Paralympic athletes, by creating work which opens doors, changes minds, and inspires new collaborations”.

Some of the talent which will be seen performed include dance, live arts, visual arts, music and theatre and would definitely be something to see as there are some who have a very hard time believing that the disabled can perform such feats. Not only do they perform but they in most cases have written, directed and produced the work which will be seen and so have created this work from beginning to the very end, and have even included some able bodied persons into their acts.

I find that last part to be of particular interest since we the able bodied always seem to think that if we include the disabled in any programme or event that we’re doing them a favour; but what happens when the tables are turned? What is their motivation for including us? Surely it can’t be that they need us because clearly they don’t.

I strongly believe that the disabled understand the concept and reality of inclusion and live it out simply because they know what it is like not to be included but more importantly, they see the talent of the individual while we see the disability.

There are even able bodied world renowned artists who have chosen to work with both groups of people based solely on their talent. Not only that, but because of the various countries that will be represented, there is sure to be a burst of cultural creativity.

For example, the Candoco Dance Company is made up of persons from China, the UK and Brazil which will make an interesting blend and fusion of talent as will the Remix Dance Company, a South African group who will be teaming up with UK performers.

One piece which will be on show which I found to be very interesting is Claire Cunningham’s Menage a Trois which is an award performing piece depicting a lonely woman who begins to craft the perfect man out of the only thing she knows — her crutches. Claire’s 20-year relationship with her crutches is explored in great detail, and this darkly humorous and deeply personal portrait asks if it’s possible to find love when there are already three of you in the relationship – her plus 2 crutches. Very intriguing.

There is clearly no lack of talent when it comes to persons within the disabled community. As a matter of fact there are many of them making a living while performing their work on a national and international level. While there are still quite a number of those who have chosen to allow their disability to limit them, many have not and live their lives as testimony to this.

What we need to do is rid our minds of limitations, especially those which are self-imposed and go after things which we have not even dared to speak of. I read somewhere that the perfect time to act is when you begin to dream and imagine things that are in your heart so much that it scares you. Let’s all support each other in our quest for equality and go after all that is on the inside of us — so that when the naysayers come knocking, we can remember the following quote:

“There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to do is turn around and say ‘Watch me’.”

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