Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

DASH Curatorial Commissions

The drive for DASH's first commissioning programmes came directly from Disabled artists themselves, who asked “Where are all the Disabled artists?” They were referring to the lack of, or invisibility of Disabled artists in mainstream galleries. DASH decided to undertake research to find out the answer to this question.

The results were disheartening, but not entirely shocking. In 2010, 112 galleries were sent an online survey: - only 35 responded. Of those that responded, just 15 galleries, (44%,) said that they had exhibited at least one piece of work by Disabled artists since 2000.

DASH began partnering with galleries to create Artist commissioning programmes, over ten years fifteen artists have been commissioned. Three of these commissions became curatorial residencies. The first of these was realised with Disrupted at mac, curated by Noemi Lakmaier during her 12 month residency. The exhibition explored the sense of awkwardness such encounters can bring, and the unique experiences and unexpected insights that can emerge from them.

This was followed by Aidan Moesby's and Gail Howard's curatorial residencies as part of Tu Fewn, led by DASH with funding from Disability Arts Cymru. This was an exciting development opportunity for arts organisations in Wales to commission new high quality work by Disabled visual artists from across the UK and Internationally. 

This work showed a thirst for leadership and representation of Disabled artists in the visual arts and led to the Curatorial Commissions programme, 2018 – 2021. The response from the partner galleries has been instrumental in developing the vision for the Future Curators Programme