This is my spoof of The Blind leading the Blind by Breughel (1584). It’s a visual joke I submitted to Insight: an exhibition showing the work of visually impaired artists, organised by some MA Curation students at Leeds Art University.
Breughel’s painting ostensibly responds to the Matthew 5:14 parable. It has been described as showing six blind beggars stumbling into a ditch – even though, from their clothes, the men shown are certainly not all beggars. Brueghel carefully detailed six specific Eye diagnoses: “In contrast to earlier depictions of the blind as beneficiaries of divine gifts, Bruegel’s men are stumbling and decrepit, and portrayed without sympathy”.
My spoof has five identical faces (mine) on Breughel’s bodies. Their smiles suggest that they are off somewhere fun – and are not the slightest bit miserable.
I’m commenting on how
– all ‘blind’ people are often considered similar or even the same – when we’re not.
– many visually impaired people have an invisible disability.
– there is a common idea that anyone who is ‘blind’ cannot see even the difference between light and dark
– disabled people are considered heroically cheery, when they’re not being annoyingly miserable
Most importantly – for me anyway – my version clearly adopts the social model of disability. I’ve digitally erased Breughel’s ditch – so no one falls.
If only the UK government had a similar, but real-life, approach to hazards on pavements
My other joke accepted in the Insight exhibition was: I’m looking back at you – a Female Gaze