Sue Austin from Devon has been using wheelchair since 1996 after an extended illness limited her mobility. Austin has staged a series of stunning underwater scuba performances called ‘Creating the Spectacle’ to show off her underwater art.
Lost in the shadows of disability after contracting a virus that attacked her central nervous system, Austin felt her identity slip away. Austin tried returning to work but was sent home because she was not well enough to be there.
Even people saw her as disabled and associated that image with words like limitation, fear, pity and restriction. She began taking art courses and with each course she felt a rebirth of passion and purpose.
One of Austin’s first series in this vein was called “traces from a wheelchair” created in 2009. For the work, Austin used paint on the wheels of her chair to create glorious loops-both on enormous sheets of paper and on the grass outside the gallery showing the exhibit.
“The wheelchair became an object to paint and play with”, explains Austin. “It was exciting to see the interested and surprised responses from people. It seemed