It is not often that artists with disabilities and advocates from across the world can come together on a single stage. But this was the case at the 2018 Arts & Disability International Conference, held 22-23 March in Singapore as part of the True Colours Festival. The conference consisted of two days of panels, lectures, and workshops on all topics of disability in/and the arts. It featured discussions on the performing and visual arts, special education, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and international arts programs, among other topics. And in keeping with its arts focus, there were visual art exhibitions and musical and theatrical performances during the event as well.
Not Just Art founder Meera Shenoy was invited to participate in the "Artists Open Dialogue" program organized by UNESCO on policy implications for people with disabilities (including artists) in dozens of countries. She spoke from her experience in the disability skilling sector through Youth4Jobs and the emerging impact that Not Just Art is having on the Indian disability (and) arts world. This was an amazing opportunity to share Not Just Art's progress and goals for the future with an international audience.
Along with her panel, Meera was able to attend an art show and meet some incredibly talented artists. One such artist is Christina Lau Lay Lian, a Malaysian mouth painter. A former prison officer, Christina became paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 2005. Since then, she began mouth painting and has never looked back.
Christina's watercolor paintings include delicate floral motifs and picturesque landscapes. She became a student member of the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists in 2012. Her work was included among several other artists with a range of disabilities, resulting in an exhibit full of inspiring talent.