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> > > Exhibition showcasing disability and political activism in art to launch Attenborough Art Centre's new gallery

A major exhibition Art, Life, Activism which brings together acclaimed artists who make artwork informed by the politics of disability featuring sculpture, performance, film, drawing, and photography will be the inaugural show of University of Leicester's new gallery at the Attenborough Arts Centre, running from 18 November to 17 January 2016.

A photograph of Tony Heaton's installation Gold Lamé a golden invacar suspended from the ceiling

Tony Heaton's Gold Lamé. Photograph by John Barraclough

Attenborough Arts Centre’s founding patron was Richard Attenborough, a world leading filmmaker, actor and life-long patron of the arts who grew up on the University’s campus. Handing the patronage to his son Michael, the Centre continues to follow Richard’s vision and continue his legacy striving to improve inclusivity in art, culture and learning for all. 

Opened in 1997 by the late Princess Diana as The Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, the venue was created from a campaign championed and led by Lord Attenborough, who was actively involved in arts and disability in the UK. Today the Attenborough Arts Centre exhibition programme includes a broad spectrum of contemporary art, yet still continues the social activism on which it was founded - working closely with organisations such as Shape Arts to challenge how disability is perceived. 

A photograph of artists Aaron Williamson's Gold Hearing Trumpet, a rams horn painted gold

Aaron Williamson's Gold Hearing Trumpet. Photograph by Joe Maxwell.

“Art, Life, Activism raises questions about the relationship between art and politics and invites us to consider the complex social, economic and cultural forces characterising disability and its representation in mainstream culture,” said Tony Heaton artist, curator and Chief Executive of Shape Arts.

Shown together for the first time in Leicester, exhibiting artists Tony Heaton, Aaron Williamson, Noëmi Lakmaier, Adam Reynolds, Bobby Baker, Liz Crow, Simon Raven, Ann Whitehurst and David Hevey, produce critical work that blurs the boundaries between art and politics.    

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England Council, said:

“I’m very much looking forward to being back in Leicester at the opening of Art, Life, Activism. One of our ambitions at the Arts Council is to invest in great artistic and cultural work which reflects our nation’s diversity and Attenborough Arts is an important part of that picture.”

Art, LIfe, Activism will launch in the Centre’s new £1.5 million gallery, which opens on 17 November and runs until 17 January 2016.

The Attenborough Arts Centre has been supported by the Breaking Barriers Appeal, which aims to help fulfil Richard Attenborough’s original vision to improve access to the arts for all. For more information about how to donate, please contact Ave Vinick at (0116) 252 2176 or or make a gift online at


Jason Davies

4 July 2017

Hello there I am a severe OCD sufferer, I have had my disability all my life which has been very hard and difficult. I wish not to get into the technical and dark aspects of my mental disorder , but what I would like to say is that painting and art has really helped through my life and to somewhat control my illness. I have been painting for the past 30 years and never had a show no one seems to be interested because I am self taught and haven't been to a serious art school please check for a view of what I do, if anyone can help show or promote my work or any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks JDavies 2017.

Kimberly Lafuente

31 August 2016

As a participant of a disability program, this is very inspirational!

Thank you for sharing