Matthew Bodett 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.
“As an artist I seek to disrupt the historical and material connections between madness, privilege, and confinement. This is a daunting task, but one which was born from lived experiences with schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia accompanied by a mood disorder – in my case severe depression). I know the portrayals of madness tell me that I am living a death sentence filled with violence and darkness. However, I know what I am living is different, filled with difficulty, but also filled with deeply creative investigations, an unlimited humanity, and a powerful community of fellow mad travelers. Through my artistic output I intend to deal with the varied aspects of my own madness and how they relate to the surrounding world. I utilize historical material, drawn from art history, as an aspect of critique about our assumptions of madness, it origins, and its limitations. Through this work I intend to change the current conversation about madness and offer new avenues of dialogue for an already difficult to understand topic.”