Monday 29 December 2014

Artist creates bedazzled hearing aids and walking frames to celebrate disabilities

Freya Drohan

Published 07/08/2014 | 10:22

An ethically conscious artist was inspired by her glamorous gran to create the ‘Tools of Living’ photo series.

“My grandmother was a real lady,” artist Elana Langar said of her late gran. ““I don’t remember a time when her hair and nails weren’t done and she wasn’t dressed impeccably.”

In her final months of life, her gran was no longer able to walk unaided, but the idea of using a zimmer frame in public was “unbearable” to her, as Elana states,

“The force of her vanity had come up against the limit of the body.”

“I joked that I would make her a bedazzled walker, but my grandmother didn’t laugh. She didn’t see the condition of necessity as something to be played with.”

As a reaction, Elana conceived the Tools of Life project, to celebrate and champion the disabilities that can be viewed as stigmas.

She went about creating the jewelled hearing aids and walking frames and took them to mundane locations to gauge people’s reactions and challenge how society perceives beauty.

 “One tool of enhancement, like clothing or jewelry, doesn’t have to compromise another tool of enhancement like the ability to hear or walk with greater ease,” she said.

“Both are enriching our experiences in the world and both are admitting that we need and want help with the conditions that exist within us at any given moment. When used to enhance joy and enjoyment, these are all equally and differentially tools of life and living well.”

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