Rachel Gadsden visual and performance artist
As an artist who has lost a lot of my sight, I am often asked: How can you still paint? I hope that Change Makers will empower those who similarly are going through the experience of sight loss to know that there is life beyond what is happening to them.
Rachel Gadsden is a multi-award-winning artist who is exhibited internationally across the mainstream and disability art sectors, developing cross-cultural visual dialogues in a consideration of the human condition.
Having a life-long lung condition, and being then, fifteen years ago, diagnosed with retinoschisis, Rachel has turned her life’s passion into a means of championing those with visual impairment, and of working to empower others to find a voice to expose and challenge prejudice. Rachel’s visual impairment becomes a component that she brings to bear in her work, a way of ‘seeing’ people, in portraiture, in interpreting the world around. Her lung condition – the treatment of which requires life-saving injections by means of a syringe-driver administered at minute intervals – facilitates the exploration of fragility and resilience.
I was beginning to build what you can talk of as a public profile. I felt uncomfortable that I wasn’t making good use of the platform; and decided that I would talk openly whenever I could about my disability and do whatever I could to improve the status of people in a similar position.
Since then, I have been passionate about using my role as an artist to support and champion people living with disabilities.