Piss on Pity:
Disabled artists vs. charity
An exhibition in a vacant unit in a shopping centre in Wakefield, curated by Gill Crawshaw.
It took place Wednesday 25 Sept – Saturday 5 Oct, 2019.
The launch event was on Wednesday 25 Sept, 2019, during Wakefield Art Walk.
Piss on Pity featured the following artists’ work.
Click on the titles of the artwork for more information about each:
- Katherine Araniello : Pity (2013)
- Katherine Araniello and Simon Raven: The Crippled Gherkin (2015)
- Sasha Callaghan: Digital collage series (2019)
- Eddy Hardy and Geof Armstrong: Liberty Not Charity (1996)
- Tony Heaton: Shaken Not Stirred – Into Which (1992)
- David Hevey: ‘Andicapped Adam Says Thank You (1990)
- Vince Laws: DWP Deaths Make Me Sick (2019)
- Jason Wilsher-Mills: The East Hull Elvis and his Dislocated Pelvis (2018).
Charity has long been a looming presence in the lives of disabled people – and not always a welcome one. This exhibition showed disabled artists challenging the widespread idea that charity is a force wholly for good. With humour, intelligence and confrontation, these artists reflect the demand for ‘Justice Not Charity’ that is the foundation of the disabled people’s movement.
Disabled people called for ‘Rights Not Charity’ during anti-charity demonstrations in the 1980s and 1990s. The slogan ‘Piss on Pity’ expressed their anger at how charities portrayed disabled people as needy, tragic victims and at the charities’ claims to represent disabled people.
The demand for rights is more urgent now than ever. Disabled people are fighting a sustained attack on their lives and dignity under the government’s austerity programme, with cuts to public services and welfare benefits. A last resort for many, charities are inadequate in the face of this assault.
Piss On Pity coincided with the showing of Charity, a sculpture by Damien Hirst, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This exhibition took the opportunity to show how disabled artists have addressed this issue and continue to do so, as part of the disability rights movement.
In memory of Katherine Araniello.
Thanks to The Art House and NDACA, the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive.
The zine-catalogue for the exhibition is available on Issuu: https://issuu.com/gillcrawshaw/docs/piss_on_pity_exhibition_zine_sept_2019
(Photo courtesy of Wakefield Art Walk). Piss on Pity featured the following artists’ work. Click on the titles of the artwork for more information about each: Katherine Araniello : Pity (2013) Katherine Araniello and Simon Raven: The Crippled Gherkin (2015) Sasha Callaghan: Digital collage series (2019) Eddy Hardy and Geof Armstrong: Liberty Not Charity (1996)… Read more
Rather than produce a catalogue for the exhibition, I produced a 20-page zine. The style seemed to fit with the aesthetic and subject of the exhibition. Last time I made a zine was in the 1980s! I used the same techniques and tools: photocopying and collage, scissors and Pritt-stick. It was fun.Of course, it doesn’t… Read more
The installation of Damien Hirst’s huge sculpture Charity at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as part of the Yorkshire Sculpture International festival over the summer of 2019, was a starting point for the Piss on Pity exhibition. Jason Wilsher-Mills convinced me that some action was needed, although at first I had no plans for an exhibition. I… Read more
Clara stood on the corner in her bright yellow t proclaiming Whizzkidz. She wanted me to stop and talk. or did she? Maybe she just wanted to see the colour of my money. I asked her to walk with me. I was going to a cash point within 20 meters, just a few short strides. […]… Read more
In 1992 hundreds of disabled people gathered outside London Weekend Television to protest against the Telethon fundraiser. This was one of a number of actions by disabled people against charity fundraising, including two protests in Leeds outside the BBC’s Children in Need in 1990 and 1992. Following Block Telethon, DAN, the disabled people’s direct action… Read more
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