Ann Millet-Gallant is one of the guest editors for the forum section of the current issue of the Review of Disability Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3,4. We asked Ann to talk a little bit about herself and her experience as an artist.
I am a professor of art history and liberal studies for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am the author of two books, The Disabled Body in Contemporary Art and Re-Membering: Putting Mind and Body Back Together Following Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as essays and art reviews for journals. I have chaired several panels at academic conferences on the intersections between art history and disability studies and am currently co-editing a volume of such essays titled Disability and Art History. I am also an artist who paints, draws, and makes collages about the experiences of her disabled body, and I do portraits of pets and still life compositions.
2. What role does the artist have in disability culture?
The artist can express a number of experiences of being disabled in culture. They can utilize their disabled bodies as the subject and creator of new, liberated, and multifaceted images of disability.
3. Why do you feel this forum is a critical topic?
Art history has not been as engaged with disability studies as have other disciplines of the humanities. Visual art contributes greatly to images of disability in visual culture. I believe exploring the intersections between art history and disability studies fosters a new area of research and new understandings of representations of disability in visual culture.
4. What work do you most enjoying doing?
In terms of artwork, I most enjoy painting. I like mixing and layering color.
5. What’s your favorite art work or artist?
Frida Kahlo is my favorite artist. She was a disabled artist who painted self portraits in which she portrayed a number of her life experiences. Her work is often considered expressions of her “suffering,” and they may have been cathartic, yet they are also bold, brilliantly colorful, and spectacularly dramatic.
6. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I am congenitally physically disabled, and in 2007, I had an accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury. One of the many forms of therapy that contributed to my recovery was art therapy. My artwork and writing have been greatly influenced by these experiences.
Don't miss the current issue of RDS that includes a wide range of perspectives on art history and contemporary art with a disability studies focus. This issue also includes research articles on topics such as Dyslexia, the Paralympics, and accessibility in Jordan and Peru. You can find the current issue here. Stay tuned for the launch of RDS' new open access website. Coming soon!