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(dis)ABLED BEAUTY: the evolution of beauty, disability, and ability

Start Date 29 July 2016
End Date 12 March 2017
Venue Kent State University Museum
Location Kent, USA
Curator Tameka Ellington and Stacey Lim
Designer Jim Williams

Exhibition display of mannequin in white stylised wheelchair


(dis)ABLED BEAUTY: the evolution of beauty, disability and ability is a celebration of highly designed assistive devices, adaptive devices, and apparel for those living with disabilities. Historically, people with disabilities have not always been held in the same esteem as able-bodied persons regarding level of beauty, intelligence and ability. Thus, many needing assistive devices would hide their disabilities in order to avoid the negative stigmatization that accompanied the concept. Our former President, Franklin D. Roosevelt concealing his disability is an excellent example of this.

This exhibition featuring more than forty items including prostheses, hearing devices, and mobility devices aims to change the negative stigma associated with disability. The items featured in this exhibition are not for concealing, but rather, they were designed to be seen and shown off. These devices make their wearer fashionable, able and to some degree… superhuman. After experiencing (dis)ABLED BEAUTY, maybe we will all believe that “disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.”  – Neil Marcus

Exhibition Guide

Image © Kent State University Museum