Whilst it might be desirable to have a named category…

by Yinka Shonibare MBE

Whilst it might be desirable to have a named category of ‘disability arts’, the consuming public will nonetheless be unforgiving of art work that is not of a very high standard: in other words, the most important relationship you have as an artist is with your public. The school you attended; the number of books you’ve read – none of that means anything in the presence of an audience. ‘Outsider Art’, ‘Insider Art’, call it what you will – it all means zilch if the art’s no good!

Focus on the quality of your output and you’ll be alright. See as much of your chosen art form as you can; learn from other artists; be a student: learn, learn, learn! By experiencing other people’s art work you’ll find that the greatest artists are the ones who are willing to learn from others – regardless of disability, gender or sexual orientation. Of course, societies providing access to a good education will facilitate this up to a point, but at the end of the day, the dialogue is between you and the audience. If you fail to engage them, they won’t care about which college you attended: they will simply walk away!