Portraits are power struggles that take place on either side of the easel. They answer the question of whose life, and therefore whose death, matters. Disabled people have rarely been portrait subjects, and have largely been absent from the the walls of art museums. Riva Lehrer discusses how her work takes on this history of invisibility, and why portraits of stigmatized people have a real effect on who does, in fact, live or die in our contemporary world.
Riva Lehrer is an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University, and an artist/writer focusing on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. Her work has been presented across the nation, including at the United Nations, Smithsonian Museum and the Chicago Cultural Center, and featured in numerous documentaries, including The Paper Mirror and Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer. Her writing and art have also been included in publications such as Criptiques and Sex and Disability.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx