This study has explored how local disabled artists frame and define works where disability and arts intersect in a multi-dimensional approach. The most prominent frustration and barrier faced by disabled artists is how strongly society associates disability with charity. There is an immense desire by the disabled artists to move away from this lens to be recognised, appreciated and evaluated as artists equal to their non-disabled peers.
The current known definition of disability arts is predominantly influenced by the UK political culture associated with the disability rights movement. While we can take reference for certain strategies from overseas, Singapore, with our political and cultural uniqueness, is capable of developing our own disability arts journey defined by our parameters. The key lies in creating space for choice, autonomy and respect for the local disabled artists. This space needs to be co-created together by the different stakeholders, including policymakers, arts organisations, arts managers, producers, consumers as well as disabled artists themselves. Most importantly, we need to amplify these voices of disabled artists and, informed by their perspectives, collectively start taking action.
It is the hope of the researcher that this study contributes to an emerging practitioner-led research effort in the area of disability arts in Singapore and that the findings can spark the interest of more arts researchers to further such efforts.
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