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Artist Challenges Notions Of Disability And Sexuality
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 7, 2004

COVENTRY, ENGLAND--"If you weren't in a wheelchair, you'd really be quite attractive."

Those words, spoken by a fellow student at Coventry University, burned into the memory of Lisa Gunn.

It also fueled the passion of the fine art honors graduate to explore society's perception of the female body.

For the next four weeks, the Herbert Art Gallery will exhibit "Suspension of Disbelief", a series of Gunn's underwater self-portraits.

According to the museum's website, the 7-foot by 5-foot nude images show the "grace of her body enhanced by the rippling patterns created by water in both light and shadow."

"This work is a reaction to the anger I felt at the time," Gunn told the Guardian of the student's comments. "I've turned it into positive energy."

"I wanted to say that I still have my femininity and I'm not just a set of wheels."

Last year, Gunn, 29, exhibited large-scale portraits of herself sitting naked in her wheelchair.

"Until they read the statement alongside the exhibition, people don't know that the body they're looking at is disabled," she explained. "I'm not trying to mislead them; I'm simply trying to get them to accept me as I am."

Related:
"Naked ambition" (The Guardian)

http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,,1294152,00.html
"Suspension of Disbelief" (Herbert Art Gallery & Museum)
http://www.coventrymuseum.org.uk/exhibitions.htm#suspension

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