Disability and Portraiture: Ethical Representation of the Disabled in Art




Stitt, Natalie

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This project can be restrained to the exploration of three questions: how has disability been presented in art and media? What are we losing if those with disabilities are ‘othered’ and excluded? How can those with disabilities be ethically portrayed in art? The aim of this project is to highlight the humanity of disability and to discuss what will be lost if spaces, specifically artistic ones, continue to be closed off not only to the representation of those with disabilities but their actual presence. As a creative thesis, this exploration is structured in two parts, a series of six portraits and a written component. With three large-scale portraits and three smaller portraits, the painting component seeks to encapsulate the humanity and personality of the subjects painted. The written component traces a brief history of disability’s representation, offers a synopsis of artists who have challenged the stereotypes surrounding disability, and presents a philosophical analysis of disability studies, its relationship with portraiture, and consequently how an artist should ethically portray disability in their work.



Studio Art, Art History, Ethics