December 13, 2012

How Great Art Transcends Disability

When Judy first arrived at Creative Growth, says Joyce, “they couldn’t get her to do much of anything.” Judy did not like painting, sewing or sculpture class. Then she found her medium in a fiber arts class taught by textile artist Sylvia Seventy. She started wrapping. Yarn disappeared. Magazines disappeared. Even chairs and bike wheels disappeared. All of it would emerge later in colorfully woven sculptures. She even created pieces that looked like twins reaching towards one another.

"As she became more confident about her art, she became more confident about her place in the world," says Ilana. "She became more extravagant, wearing scarves, head wraps, jangly things, necklaces." With intense concentration, Judith worked five days a week for eighteen years, producing over 200 cocoon-like sculptures. "If you came to visit her while she worked," says Ilana, "she would shoo you away." Judith became the first artist with Down’s Syndrome to be featured in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her work is in permanent museum collections in New York City, Paris, and London.

Read more. [Images: Leon Borensztein]

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