With

Cassidy Bankson, Faye Harnest, Earl LeBlanc, and Dawn McLeod

This collection of images by Cassidy Bankson, Faye Harnest, Earl LeBlanc and Dawn McLeod adapts the “exquisite corpse” game as an access practice. The artists share a collaborative drawing as a way to anchor themselves in time and space, avoid the culturally omnipresent mode of socializing through screens – for them inaccessible – and build a social relationship. Bankson writes: 

“The seeds of this piece came from weekly conversations between me and my friend Faye. For over two years we spoke on the phone every Friday afternoon. We sent each other pictures of our drawings. Perhaps inevitably, we found that we were affected by, and were responding to, each other’s drawings. Earl and Dawn joined us for the creation of ‘With’ offering the possibility of expanding the practice and adding an element of mystery and surprise. We are all members of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto. We connected because we were artists that felt estranged from our original art forms and were looking for new ways to create. Living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) is isolating. We cautiously manage our symptoms and evaluate the cost of light, sounds, human interactions, routine shopping and appointments etc. on our well-being. Acquired brain injuries are often termed an “invisible injury” because the struggles felt by survivors are not evident to the outside world. ‘With’ is a ritual of connection. It brings its participants into the playful and potentially transformational power of collective art making.”

Thus, this work mobilizes an artistic practice as a vehicle for social togetherness. The work references the role of art-making as a kind of Crip Ritual in itself, and points to the creativity and speculative innovation that disabled people employ to find strategies for survival and the cultivation of social personhood in spite of disabilities that prevent participation in normative social interactions in the dominant culture.


In the Deep

Faye Harnest

2020. Digital.

woman in bathing suit battling giant octopus

Written Image Description:

There are two ovals side-by-side with white on the inside and black on the outside, almost as if one were looking through oval shaped binoculars. Within each oval is a tableau with a giant octopus and a woman in a black bathing suit. In the left oval, the octopus has two arms wrapped around the woman and is lifting her into the air. In the right oval, the octopus is laying limp while the woman is standing over it. She has one foot on an octopus arm and is holding a large knife pointed down at the creature. The drawings are black on white with broken turquoise lines across the images, like water streaks on glass.