The Arc of Palm Beach County invites art lovers of all creeds to immerse themselves in the often overlooked experience of disability in “Their Own Truths: The Art of Sky Cubacub, Riva Lehrer, Jeffrey Mansfield, and David Richards,” on view at ArtWorks at The Square in West Palm Beach through May 31. “Their Own Truths” showcases recent works by four innovative artists with disabilities. The collection of paintings, garments, sculptures, and photographs seeks to change perceptions and to open minds.
“Aesthetic joy is central to each artist’s practice, yet their work challenges the viewer to recognize that societal perceptions of disability are far from its actual, lived experiences,” said Rena Blades, the exhibition’s curator and president at Delos Consulting.
The Riviera Beach-based Arc of Palm Beach County helps convey the stories, accomplishments, and experiences of people with disabilities. “Their Own Truths” encourages the community to think differently and to discover the true meaning of inclusion, acceptance, and diversity.
“This immersive, thought-provoking exhibit hopes to bring people together to explore and celebrate the disability community’s impact on our world,” said Kimberly McCarten, president and CEO of The Arc of Palm Beach County. “We want to connect and inspire artists of all abilities in our community and beyond. The Arc is fostering a society that upholds human flourishing and acceptance of all.”
“Their Own Truths” engages the broader conversation around contemporary art, while the artists’ insights provide viewers with opportunities to consider, examine, and critique deeply rooted points of view. The artists include:
Sky Cubacub designs artistic garments that are fanciful, colorful, and custom-fitted for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Cubacub was inspired to create clothing that references and reflects on their nonbinary gender and disabilities: debilitating anxiety and an undiagnosed stomach disorder.
Cubacub is a recipient of the 2019/2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist, the 2021 Disability Futures Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, and the Chicagoan of the Year in 2018.
Riva Lehrer was born with spina bifida and has spent a lot of time in hospitals; both experiences inform her work. She paints intimate and provocative portraits that focus on individuals with a visible disability. Lehrer is also a well-known activist for disability culture, and a teacher, writer, and speaker.
Lehrer is a current Disability Futures Fellow from the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, and her work has been exhibited a the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, Yale University, the United Nations, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Jeffrey Mansfield was born deaf and his early childhood experiences, like attending a school for the deaf, informed his opinions about art and architecture, as well as their influences on our lives. His work explores how spaces profoundly impact our experience. Mansfield also researches the formation of deaf and disability spaces as expressions of cultural resistance.
Mansfield is a Graham Foundation grantee, a recipient of the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation’s Disability Futures fellowship, and a John W. Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress. His work has been presented at MoMA PS1, Bergen Assembly, Sao Paulo Biennale, and the Sharjah Biennial.
David Richards’ work combines painted wall sculpture with collage and drawn elements. His art fuses organic, mechanical, and geometric forms, inviting viewers to make their own interpretations. Richards was born with physical disabilities affecting his spine, hips, legs, and feet.
Richards received the Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, the 3Arts Make a Wave Grant, a City of Chicago Percent for the Arts Program purchase award for the Logan Square Public Library, and the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship. His work has been widely exhibited, including at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Illinois State Museum, the International Museum of Surgical Science, and the Kaoshiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan.
“Their Own Truths” is curated by Rena Blades and sponsored in part by Related Companies. To learn more about the exhibit, click here.