Vision Passion Action

About Our Quest for a Poster

The call for disability equality represents a complex tangle of culture, philosophy, ideology and practices. We sought a visual language in a poster that could capture our program in radical disability studies. We wanted a symbol that provoked critical thought and an alternative vision. We wanted an alternative to those charity posters that have traditionally broadcasted an image of “tragic but brave” victims of disability.

Rebecca Beayni provided that image. Rebecca Beayni, a young artist, has been painting for several years, working with a highly personal conductor style technique that sends her colours dancing across the canvas. She created her painting “Passion” using poster paint on brown wrapping paper. It was hanging in a juried competition called Connections, an international competition by artists with disabilities mounted by the Abilities Festival in the fall of 2003. This was her first show. She opted not to sell the piece, but she did grant us the right to use the image. Joss MacLennan (who designed the famous December 6 memorial poster, red roses on white lace to commemorate the 14 engineering students murdered at L’Ecole Polytechnique) agreed to create the poster, and noted that “the best posters are the ones you can’t quite get to the bottom of”.

Part of the fascinating and strange allure of a poster is the way it can say so much by using so little. Here was an image that could reshape the disability narrative and build a social identity grounded in pride.

A poster was born. Vision Passion Action.