One Small Step, One Giant Celebration (2019)
What it means to live a ‘good life’ is one of the oldest philosophical questions. Ancient thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and Kant once made the question of the ‘good life’ central to their philosophy. Yet despite such extensive study, what does a ‘good life’ mean for the lives of people with learning disabilities? Who decides on what a ‘good life’ is and why has it proved so difficult for people with learning disabilities to live one?
This arts exhibition at The Brindley is curated Leah Jones. Leah is a self-advocate and person with Down Syndrome who runs her own business called Positive You. Leah says, “I decided to curate this exhibition as I want to move conversations on from people with learning disabilities living a ‘good enough’ life, which often is a life with few choices and opportunities, to them living an extraordinary one.”
This exhibition features artwork created during a series of arts workshops across 2018 at The Brindley where self-advocates, special schools, disability professionals, families and carers came together to explore their ‘ingredients’ for what living a ‘good life’ means to them. One of the artworks exhibited will be Visionary Voices (2019). Visionary Voices is a patchwork quilt made by people with Down Syndrome, their families and carers during a workshop for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day 2018. At the workshop, Leah invited people to imagine what the lives of people with Down Syndrome should look like in 50 years time. On each patch of the quilt audiences can observe a person’s individual hopes for the future, stitched together to create a shared vision.
Leah says “I learnt that we all have our own special ‘recipe’ for what makes us happy in our lives. Whilst we often share common ingredients such as relationships, good health and a sense of purpose, ultimately, our recipes for a good life are unique.”
Exhibition opens Sunday 14th of April 2019.
Illustration by Emma Curd, commissioned by Leah.