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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Cover / Winter Issue

Their Own Truths: Art created by four artists explores disability

Many artists who have a disability in some form make art. They find a way to express themselves in mediums that make art accessible.

A new exhibit, Their Own Truths: The Art of Sky Cubacub, Riva Lehrer, Jeffrey Mansfield, and David Richards opens in The Square, produced by The Arc Of Palm Beach County and curated by Rena Blades, former CEO of the Cultural Council and currently President of Delos Consulting.

The exhibition features recent works by four innovative artists that explore their personal experiences of disability. With paintings, garments, sculptures, and photographs, the show seeks to change viewers’ perceptions and to open minds to art one would never know was made by a disabled person.

Running through May 31, 2023, in suite 156 at The Square, the exhibition also has educational programs and lectures.

Sky Cubacub, an American designer and founder of Rebirth Garments was born in Chicago, Illinois, and identifies as a non-binary Filipinx disabled queer. Fanciful and colorful, the garments can be custom-fitted to any size and shape. Cubacub was inspired to create this clothing line after not finding the types of garments needed for disabilities, anxiety, and stomach disorders.

Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator focused on the socially challenged body. She represents people whose physical being, sexuality, and gender identity have been stigmatized. Lehrer was born with spina bifida and spent time in hospitals; those experiences inform her work. She paints provocative portraits that focus on individuals with visible disabilities but imbue them with personality.

Her memoir, Golem Girl, was published in 2020.

Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Yale University, the United Nations, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

A design director, Jeffrey Mansfield’s work explores the uneasy relationships between architecture, landscape, and power. Currently researching how deaf schools and deaf spaces emerged as sites of cultural resistance in the 19th and 20th centuries, his work has been published in the Cooper Hewitt Design Journal, AD, Tacet and exhibited at MoMA PS1, Bergen Assembly, and the Sao Paulo Biennale.

Jeff has worked in architecture offices, and he holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

All this is more impressive because he has been deaf since birth. He attended a deaf school in Massachusetts, where his early feelings about the relationship between aesthetics, power, and disabled society were formed.

​As a three-time Deaflympian, he won gold with the USA Men’s Deaflympic Ice Hockey Team in 2007 and 2019. He was awarded the 2005 USA Hockey Disabled Player of the Year.

David Richard is the Founder and President of Global Mobility, with 20 years of experience serving the worldwide community of persons with disabilities. Overseeing the distribution of wheelchairs and other ambulatory aid equipment, he has delivered to 76 countries.

Richards was born with physical disabilities that affected his spine, hips, legs, and feet.

Starting as a volunteer working to provide customized wheelchairs to children in Guatemala, he later founded Wheels for Humanity, a non-profit organization in 1996. The organization grew, serving over 100,000 children and adults. David personally directed hundreds of international seating clinics to custom-fit wheelchairs.

David has forged friendships with partners worldwide. He is an accomplished photographer, fueling his images with the power of what he encounters daily.

His multi-media work combines painted wall sculpture with collage and hand-drawn elements. It fuses organic, mechanical, and geometric forms, letting viewers make their own interpretations.

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For more information, visit www.arcpbc.org

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