(Video link here.) When Sue Austin got a power chair 16 years ago after an extended illness, she felt a tremendous sense of freedom — yet others looked at her as though she had lost something. ‘Limitation’, ‘fear’, ‘pity’, ‘restriction’ were the words people used when they tried to imagine using a power chair.
I was seeing myself not from my perspective, but vividly and continuously from the perspective of other people’s responses to me.
Realizing she had internalized these responses on a core level, she repurposed her wheelchair to become an object to paint and make art with, a vehicle for transformation (in which she even deep sea dived).
It showed that an arts practice can remake ones identity and transform preconceptions by revisioning the familiar.
This is one of the most inspiring TED talks we’ve watched in long time; the 9+ minutes will fly by, especially once you dive with Austin, in her wheelchair, starting at 3:53.
I now call the underwater wheelchair “Portal,” because it’s literally pushed me through into a new way of being, into new dimensions and into a new level of consciousness.