Chapter 2

Creative Collaboration between Creatives Persons & Organisations and People with Disabilities

Why do we need to collaborate with disabled people?

Art is inclusive. Everyone, including disabled people have the same right to create work and be a part of the creative economy. Unfortunately, disabled people are often considered not capable of being a worthy artist or creative. 

Perhaps you don’t know, some of the world greatest artists are disabled, Van Gogh was bipolar, Henri Matisse used a wheelchair, and many others, including the more contemporary such as Yayoi Kusama with her psychosis and Yinka Shonibare who, like Matisse is in a wheelchair. From our Gerakan Kreabilitas we also discovered a few Indonesian disabled artists, we will be presenting their profile throughout this toolkit.

Imagine if you met Matisse, and he proposed a collaboration and you told him no because he is in a wheelchair. Think, that the disabled artist you meet might be a future great artist.

We need to change this stigma and focus on people’s work and potential instead of their disability. Don’t you think?

Collaboration will help:

  • You to see that disabled people have their own perception and ways to express themselves
  • Encourage disabled people to have self-confidence in developing their skills. If the disabled artists have not yet got full control of their creative process, the collaboration might help with developing them
  • To provide disabled artists with the same opportunity professionally and socially in participating in the community and society

“To be honest disabled people have unseen potential. The challenge is that society view of‘ what can they do, really? When really, they have great talent. The key is our willingness to listen and understand”

Wulang Sunu, Artist and Illustrator Tweet

Everyone has their own creativity and should have the same opportunity to express themselves.

So if we, in the art and creative world encourage collaboration with disabled artists, we will find new and sometimes unimaginable ideas and inspirations.

We will be presenting some results of collaboration work from our Gerakan Kreabilitas programme soon. Where you can see better the benefit and good quality result of disabled and non-disabled artists collaborations.

In the next article we are going to talk about how to create an inclusive exhibition.

This article is written originally in Indonesian as a part of Inklusivitas Kolaborasi seni dan Kreatif,  a result of our Project Gerakan Kreabilitas, which is a project funded by British Council’s Developing Inclusive Creative Economy (DICE).

The complete toolkit in Indonesian is available to be downloaded here.