Artist’s statement -
As a person with a 25% permanent disability I'm viewed differently because the Able-ists hold power and anyone who isn’t able must therefore be other or unable. If I had my way I’d take the word ‘disabled’ out of our vocabulary!
One reason I worked with cane is because the able-bodied think when you’re ‘disabled’ all you’re capable of is making baskets. However, I also used it because hobbies like basketry and embroidery are rapidly disappearing. I want these forms of craft to be honoured because they’re such an incredible part of our background.
For me, it’s walking that’s a problem, so each of these works represents a step forward in terms of making able-bodied people think about mobility. For example, Thirteen Foot consists of thirteen basket-like footprints placed up a ramp - the ones towards the top get bigger and bigger, implying that with each step progress becomes increasingly laborious. When voted into office Citizen Cane will make everything on the level!
The car number plates, or Parkers, symbolise the able-bodied colonising the space put aside especially for us ‘disabled’ - which we pay for through buying a disability sticker after certification by a doctor. The most outrageous example I’ve witnessed is when cars without disability stickers park in ‘disabled’ parks outside swimming pools. Presumably these able-bodied people are inside doing their 40-odd laps to stay in shape but can’t be bothered walking an extra five metres!
No 52025 is Lauren’s disability sticker number.
→ Sharp message in cane, Howick and Pakuranga Times, 19-08-2002
→ Lauren Lysaght, art@sarjeant, March/May 2002
→ Lauren Lysaght: Citizen Cane No. 52025, 2002, exhibition card