Scar Tissue: A Body of Work

Scar Tissue is the second disability culture project hosted by VSA Arts of Rhode Island and led by Petra Kuppers. This year Ana Flores, an internationally active Cuban-Amercian artist, will collaborate with participants and Dr. Kuppers. The project follows on from the highly successful Tracks Project which willcontinue to be shown around Rhode Island in the early months of 2005. In Scar Tissue, project members will work with images of human bodies, their transformations over time, and their ability to regenerate and grow with change and injury. We will also map these changing and emerging bodies into their surrounding spaces, creating connections between us, the sites of the workshops and the natural environment in its own changes and adaptations. The project is made possible by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and will culminate in an exhibition.

In a range of workshops, we will engage with our theme in different ways: beginning with movement work to heighten body awareness, we might write about bodily changes and what they mean to us, charting moments in our lives by referencing our operation scars, stretch marks, broken and knitted bones.

Or we might begin with an image found in our surroundings, a tree, one of its limbs broken yet still attached, having grown with and around its change - and from there, we photograph traces of these time- interventions into natural growths, from tree-rings to young buds emerging out of the snow.

If some of us of have scars, and are happy to share them, we will photograph them, their shadows or their translations, creating landscapes out of ourselves. In another workshop sequence, we might work in clay to re-vision invisible scars: the traces left on and in us by our life experiences.

As part of the workshops, we will work on skins, homes, bags or repositories for some of the found art and bio-degradable art we will create. Ana Flores will work with the workshop participants to create housings, to be left outdoors at the various sites.

February 5
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Carriage House Theatre
7 Duncan Ave
Providence RI
February 19
12noon to 5pm
Jonah Community Center
830 Oakland Beach Avenue
Warwick RI
March 12
12noon to 5pm
Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association
203b Arcadia Road
Hope Valley RI
Bring clothes appropriate for the weather - we may work part of the time outside. Also bring writing materials, and, if you have a camera (digital or optical), please bring it along.
March 26
12noon to 5pm
Burrillville Community Center
Lodge Road
Burrillville RI
Bring clothes appropriate for the weather - we may work part of the time outside. Also bring writing materials, and, if you have a camera (digital or optical), please bring it with you.

Through community arts workshops, we will explore some of the differences with which disabled people enrich our wider social world. We move differently, we inhabit our world differently. Our differences present another view of the world, and of what it means to lead a fulfilled life - and our shared world is richer for these different perspectives. We are in particular looking for wheelchair users to join us for the next workshops - because of the interesting tracks - but we are open to everybody.

Join disabled community arts leader Petra Kuppers to explore what disability culture and arts can mean. In February & March 2005, four workshops will take place throughout Rhode Island, and we will use movement work, photography, earth sculpting, some creative writing and other arts-methods to explore our space in our world. Come along!

Please email (or send) a brief statement about yourself, and about why you wish to participate. You can also ring Petra (at 401-232-6455) to tell her why, or speak through an intermediary. We are looking for curiosity and interest in disability arts and culture! You need to be over 18, and need to self-identify as disabled.

Workshops are free to participants and take place all over Rhode Island. Each workshop can accommodate up to 5 participants (plus one helper, assistant, friend, driver per participant, if you wish. Whatever works for you). A travel allowance will be paid to each participant.
If you need help with transport, or just want to check out whether this workshop is of interest for you, contact Petra Kuppers by email or phone 401-232-6455, or Jeannine Chartier, ri@vsarts.org or 401-725-0247.
Snail mail address
Petra Kuppers
60 Salisbury Road
Glocester, Rhode Island 02814

The Olimpias Project is a collaborative process between its Director Petra Kuppers, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Bryant College and other artists, professional and amateur, all variously abled. She says "My collaborative work centers around experiences between individually embodied life and social knowledge...works have addressed what it means to be disabled, be in pain, be stigmatised by a mental health diagnosis or experience mental distress, be poor, or be old, be a rural or urban dweller."

Deborah Nash at dn@ridance.com
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