Larissa Danielle is one of nine inaugural winners of the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities. This award, designed to support accessibility in the arts and celebrate the exceptional work of disabled Midwestern visual artists, has received an incredible response from the artistic community. Over 200 artists applied to receive funds, and a panel of seven reviewers narrowed the pool to nine finalists from across the Midwest.
“Love, sex, and relationships are part of our human existence. It’s how we express our feelings towards who we desire. Romance, passion, and intimacy are all things that are part of our sexuality. The thing is, much of society cannot fathom the fact that sexuality also exist within the lives of people with disabilities. As an artist with a disability, I make work to change how society views US. I create work to make the unseen seen, to take the speculative and make it fact, to make us feel like we belong, I use plaster castings of my body to bring the diversity front and center and I use these forms to talk about a variety of sexual topics such as sex and gender, intimacy, vulnerability, pleasure, and sexual empowerment. The intersections of sexuality and disability are rarely discussed in modern art culture. Our bodies are diverse in many forms and should be celebrated, not shamed. The work that I do opposes the conjecture put forth by society that disabled people don’t have sexual authority because sexuality and sexual depiction in human disability are often considered abnormal because of poor visibility in the arts and human disqualification in society.”