Information

About the exhibition

An audio described tour of the exhibition is available on our Soundcloud as a continuous album.

In culture, mirrors are used to symbolise truth. It is also said that art is a mirror turned on society, reflecting the issues and mood of the current moment. In this way, the artist interrogates and sheds light, revealing things that might otherwise be disguised or hidden. 

For disabled people, however, too often what they find in the cultural mirror is distorted, filled with representations that are not only untrue, but harmful, damaging to individuals and communities.

In earlier times this might have centred on the physical self, but increasingly we find it in depictions of the person inside. Art and culture have a long history of using disabled people as props for entertainment, or as educational and cautionary tales. 

This exhibition treats the subject of disability differently, using the lens of lived experience.  Taking place in an age when mirrors are everywhere, even in our phones, it challenges the processes and assumptions that forge our ideas of who we are, and how we are shown. 

Through film, photography, data readings, portraiture, and computer-generated design, these digitally-hosted artworks ask new questions:

What happens to our understanding of ourselves if someone or something else has control of our image – and of the other ways we are represented?

Who has this power and where did it come from? How do we decide what is true? And what is the actual truth about how we live our lives?

As these twenty-five artists turn the mirror on themselves and society, we invite you to explore what might be found.

The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate.

The Shape Open creates an opportunity for emerging and mid-career artists to raise their profile while allowing established artists taking part to show their work alongside new and fresh perspectives that they may not ordinarily encounter.

About the exhibition BSL video

About the exhibition audio

Content notes

This exhibition is intended for persons 16 years of age and above and contains adult themes, language, and images. Some of the content refers to situations of emotional distress and some artwork contains nudity. 

It’s a jungle out there, a film by Katie Luna Goldfinch, contains sustained flashing images.

Content notes audio

Accessibility

Shape’s approach is to strike a balance between making accessible to all audiences the aesthetic of the works whilst conveying key information; accordingly in order to do so some details are emphasised in different ways across the different access formats. Where we have been able to embed the access we have done so, and with the exhibition being hosted online, some access formats are available in linked locations during the exhibition run. This includes British Sign Language support and audio description. 

This exhibition makes use of Able Player, an accessible cross-platform media player that allows different versions of the same content to be accessed from the same place. We hope that this provides a more streamlined experience for users, but we welcome feedback on your visit at exhibitions@shapearts.org.uk.

If you have questions regarding access during the exhibition, please contact exhibitions@shapearts.org.uk and we will get back to you as quickly as we can; if you can provide us with specific queries this will be helpful.

Accessibility audio

Acknowledgements

Credits

The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate.

Find out more about the Shape Open on our main website.

Curated and creatively produced by Shape Arts.

With thanks to Shape Open Patron Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA) for his continued support.

Shape is proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation, funded and supported by Arts Council England.

The bespoke website for In the Mirror was built by the brilliant Frontwards Design. 

We would also like to thank…

  • Ian Rattray
  • Marcel Hirshman
  • Nikki Champagnie Harris
  • Oliver Fisher
  • Patrick Fisher
  • Christopher Samuel

This show was an exciting collaboration between Shape’s programme team, Jeff Rowlings, Elinor Hayes, and Emily Roderick; artist and panel member, Christopher Samuel; Frontwards Design; and all of the represented artists. We thank all involved for the opportunity to showcase such a broad and impressive range of talent.

Partners

We are proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation funded by Arts Council England.

Shape is also honoured to work with our partner, schuh, whose consistent and dedicated support of our artistic programme is greatly appreciated.