Living With Chronic Pain Blog
In its most specific sense, "totem" refers to to an emblematic depiction of something (such as an animal, plant, or supernatural being) gives a family or tribe its name and that often serves as a reminder of its ancestry. The term is also used broadly for any thing or person having particular emblematic or symbolic importance.
This art piece focuses on the specifics of my illness: my hypermobile body. It is the key quality that doctors and medical professionals judge, quantify, and prove my diagnosis. In this artwork, I have used my hypermobile limbs to create a clay mold as a stand-alone object that “proves” my disability. These fired clay pieces remove the invisible aspects of my illness and provide a tangible object that will stay around for thousands of years. The permanence of clay and the totems that came out of this piece actively opposes the modern ideas that disabled lives can be “fixed” through eugenic technology. I am here to say that disabled lives are valuable, futuristic, and an important part of the culture at large.
Alt Text: Slide show flipping through photos. These photos show three different blocks of clay that Carly, the artist, pressed her own hypermobile limbs. She presses her knee, elbow, and bent hand into different blocks to capture the mold of her bendy body.