Who's Drawing the Lines: The Journey of Judith Snow

A celebration of an artist’s triumph over perceptions of disability

Opening August 20, 2011, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents Who's Drawing the Lines: The Journey of Judith Snow. This intimate exhibition explores paintings by Snow, a quadriplegic artist and world leader on inclusion issues for people labeled as disabled. Who’s Drawing the Lines reveals how, through her unique way of creating art, Snow overcame a lifetime of perceived limitations to express “all that is in [her] heart”. Featuring over 20 works by Snow and several by another artist in her Toronto guild, the exhibition confronts common perceptions of disability and illustrates the artist’s emancipation from these stereotypes to honour her physical, intellectual and emotional diversity. Who's Drawing the Lines: The Journey of Judith Snow is on display in the Hilary and Galen Weston Wing, Level 2 until January 20, 2012.

“Who’s Drawing the Lines is the most recent in a series of ROM displays illuminating contemporary issues that affect the community at large,” said Janet Carding, ROM Director and CEO. “Exhibitions such as Out from Under in 2008, and last year’s House Calls with my Camera shine a spotlight on diverse aspects of society and expand our understanding of the human condition. I know visitors will be moved by Judith Snow’s personal journey and motivated to help her create a world where we all celebrate our differences instead of being defined by them.”

About the Exhibition:

Who’s Drawing the Lines, showcases 27 paintings—23 by Snow and four by Felicia Galati, a fellow artist in the Laser Eagles Art Guild, an initiative founded by Snow to offer individuals with limited physical mobility the opportunity for self expression through art. Many of the paintings reflect Snow’s innovative approach to art-making: she has used a head-controlled laser to indicate selections, and currently works with a “tracker”, a person who follows her spoken or gestural directions in order to express her emotions and create these artworks. Captioned videos and photos in the exhibition also depict the various artistic techniques used by members of the Laser Eagles and contextualize Snow’s personal journey to become an artist and social innovator.

The ROM has created several accessibility initiatives complementing the exhibition. All label text is amplified to a larger font and is placed lower on the walls to be easily viewed by visitors using mobility aids. For visitors who are blind or who have vision loss, a tactile book accompanying the exhibition is available incorporating Braille, large print text and graphic raised-line drawings. Also available is a descriptive audio recording interpreting seven of the key art pieces presented in the exhibition, creating a visual image for those who would not otherwise be able to experience the art. An interpretive pamphlet summarizing the exhibition’s themes and content is available in person and online for all visitors. For more information on accessibility at the ROM, visit www.rom.on.ca/visit/access/index.php.

About the Artist:

“Inclusion is about the willingness to take a unique difference and develop it as a gift to others. It is not about disability.” ~ Judith Snow

Judith A. Snow, MA (York University, Toronto, 1976) is a social inventor and a builder of inclusive communities that welcome the participation of a wide diversity of people. She is also a visual artist and the Founding Director of Laser Eagles Art Guild. Snow is known for championing inclusive education, support circles, individualized personal assistance, person-directed planning and facilitated art. Born in Oshawa, Ontario in 1949, Snow was diagnosed as being quadriplegic at seven months of age. At age 12 she made her first sketch while at a rehabilitation centre. However, her artistic talents were not nurtured until, at age 55, Judith found a way to paint. This led to the liberation of her passionate expression—in art and in life. Since then she has experienced the dichotomy of being seen by many as severely disabled and by others as being a fully contributing citizen and inspiring leader. For more information about the Laser Eagles Art Guild, visit www.lasereagles.net/pages/default.asp.

Other Information:

Snow’s autobiography, Who’s Drawing the Lines? is available during the exhibition’s run in the ROM Museum Store for $21.99 plus HST.

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