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Disability Arts Online

Images & Words / 15 April 2012

A new image of me(?), Gary Thomas

Image 1, Gary as a boxer Image 2, Gary with hands wrapped in boxing bandages throws a punch towards the camera.

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Those of you who’ve known me for a while may know that I’ve done boxing & wrestling for some time. (Although I haven’t done either for a couple of years).

You may also know that a few years ago I had a photo-shoot which I wore my ‘Disabled’ T-shirt. 

That idea came about because I was so pissed of with having to explain why I had hidden disabilities and what they were, that I decided to start blatantly telling people. 

It was really me saying, “Yeah, there not obvious, but I have serious issues that you need to be aware of, and before you assume I’m not entitled to any help, let me explain…”

As it turned out, I pretty quickly got sick of explaining stuff (surely the irony of a department called ‘Access to Work’ isn’t lost on everyone from the DWP?)

Anyway, fairly recently I’ve been thinking about words and images, and what I put out into the world, the image I project, and I wonder if that’s the image that I WANT for myself. That absolutely, doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t true. In fact the issues that I’ve had have intensified over the past few months, which means it’s just as valid now as it was then.

But while that’s still true, being an artist, I can play with people’s heads, and put out a different image of me from that one. One that perhaps (sometimes) I identify with even more. 

As I’ve been longing to go back to the boxing club but haven’t made it there yet, and talking to people on Facebook about cage fighting, (training, not actual fighting) and haven’t done that for a while either, I’m thinking maybe this new image of me would boost the chances of me doing something about it.  

So with that in mind, here are a few new images of me, taken by me. 

Keywords: art,disability art,empowerment,imagery,labelling,mental health,visual art

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