Recognizing Ability: A Foot Artist

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Daniel Laflamme grabs a water bottle with his foot and bends over to take a sip. Then he adroitly places a paintbrush between his toes and begins to paint.  Deaf and mute, Laflamme, who has cerebral palsy, communicates through his painting. 

In 2006, the Quebec City artist was in Toronto to help publicize an exhibition by Canada’s Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.  The organization sells replicas of the painters’ works on greeting cards and calendars to help the artists live independent lives.

At the organization’s headquarters on St. Clair Avenue West, Laflamme showed off his prowess as an artist. Bent over like a pretzel on the floor, he painted with authority and skill as he worked on a still life of flowers and a fruit bowl.

Then he stopped to get more paint. He used one foot to bring the palette of paints closer to him.  Holding his paintbrush between his toes, he dipped his brush in the paint and then began once more to delicately apply color to his masterpiece.

 

Quoting: Debra Black, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006

Photo by: Rick Eglinton, Toronto Star, July 7, 2006. Photo Source: http://thestar.blogs.com/photoblog/2012/05/yonge-and-eglinton-no-longer-intersect.html

South African Gumboot Dancing

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Gumboots are like wellington boots, the kind worn to walk through puddles or mud.  As conditions in many South African mines were sometimes knee-deep water, gumboots were necessary attire. 

Gumboot Dancing was born of restrictions, resourcefulness, and the love of dance. Black African miners used to talk, sing and drum when they worked. But authorities punished the miners for these activities.  A new form of communication was born! In their gumboots, some affixed with bells, the miners stomped out coded messages to each other.  You can imagine “The boss is coming” was one such message.

Gumboot dancing is still used in the mines. But you can witness it above ground as well – in plazas where tourists congregate such as the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumboot_dance

http://dancehistorygumbootdancing.weebly.com/narrative.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0Q51WVrR40

Urban Nomads Follow the Cloud

Today’s technology has spawned cyber-nomads. Like ancient nomads, they are mobile, social, tribal, and seek oases to supply what they cannot carry. Unlike the ancients, the moderns are in step with the future, not the past.

 Are you an urban nomad? Do you recognize yourself or others through these questions?

Do you work or study in a non-traditional Wi-Fi setting?

  • Bookstore
  • Café
  • Communal office
  • Distance / on-line education programs
  • Home office
  • Library
  • Shared desk

 How do you manage your social relations?

  • Seek places where other people are present
  • Maintain psychological distance from those present
  • Connect with colleagues, friends or family through brief messages
  • Check often for responses
  • Use various social media and technology to communicate (text, instant message, email, voice, photo, video)

 As you work or study, do you value?

  • Ad hoc decisions
  • Autonomy
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom
  • Instant communication
  • Light loads
  • Mobility
  • Multi-tasking
  • Staying connected
  • Virtual experiences

 “As in the desert, so in the city: nomadism promises the heaven of new freedom, but it also threatens the hell of constant surveillance by the tribe.”

 The Economist Magazine’s “special report on mobility” (April 12, 2008) needs updating.  It claims that “the underlying technologies of genuine and everyday nomadism did not exist even as recently as a decade ago”. Five or six years on, we have even smarter phones, more multi-purpose tablets and advancing Cloud technology.  Where will the future take us? And how will we move through life?  

http://www.economist.com/node/10950394

http://www.economist.com/node/11016402