This collection of works strives to show that while the context of disfigurement can change — caused by leprosy or breast cancer, or transformed into a public spectacle — one thing remains the constant: the distance held between the ‘normal’ public and the ‘abnormal,’ marked body.
For individuals disfigured by leprosy, this distance is literal and physical.
In the Freak Show, this distance is more abstract — while the show-goers enjoy physical proximity to disfigurement, this is only possible because of the cognitive distance held between their existence and those of the disfigured individuals.
The disfigured individuals are presented as non-human, peculiar creatures, rendering them surreal and of a different identity in the eye’s of the show-goers.
For individuals disfigured by breast cancer, the distance is created by the erasure of the marked body in public life — disfigurement is only permitted to be unveiled in private, in the home or the hospital. By creating a culture where individuals disfigured by breast cancer are pressured to hide their marked bodies, the public never has to confront the realities of their disfigurement.
This exhibit was not created just to prove a point, but to challenge the idea of what is “fit to be seen” and the norm of creating distance from disfigurement.
In bringing you closer to the experiences and realities of individuals with disfigurement, we hope to add nuance and sensitivity to the way you think about marked bodies.
we thank you for your support, enjoy the exhibit