Art’s Influence on Well-Being
Every culture has an idealized standard of the human form but the human body is viewed differently in art. The body difference in art showcases the abilities and strength that exist in humans.
In the past, society placed normative values on well-being, disregarding alternative definitions of well-being. Artists who focus on the differences between non-disabled and those who are disabled have the opportunity to show the juxtaposition between the concept of well-being in society and the definition of well-being in the Disabled Community.
In the past the disabled body was represented in art by those within society’s norms, the non-disabled. The depiction of those with disabilities highlights the prevailing view in a culture about those who are differently abled. The depiction of those with disabilities perpetuate the stereotype of the helpless, unintelligent person.
Disabled artists have flourished. They have steered the language of disability to what ability means to them. Their voices and continued fight to be viewed as equals influenced the World Health Organization’s change in health language. Doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field no longer look at illness or disability as something to “fixed” but instead look at the barriers facing the disabled person. Disability, through art, has changed. The focus on the body as something separate, to be viewed for its flaws and a person’s place in society is discarded. Disability art challenges every facet of society. Artists focus on beauty, strength, and intellect by showing the world that the definition of ability is not restrained by the illness.
An artist’s ability to illustrate strength in disability creates change. Positive images of those with disabilities establish opportunities for diversity. Changing images leads to cultural acceptance, increased recognition of capacity, autonomy, and acknowledgment of the varying definitions of well-being. The definition of well-being is reconstructed causing the medical definition and response to disability to reflect societal norms defined by those in the Disability Community instead of those who are non-disabled.