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New Toronto art gallery to be first in Canada to focus on disability

Gallery in the heart of downtown Toronto the first to give disabled artists a permanent space to display their work of art

Toronto is set to open the first Canadian art gallery exclusively dedicated to showcasing arts made by people with disability.

Tangled Art Gallery (TAG) will open this spring at the 401 Richmond, an iconic arts building in downtown Toronto. The gallery is an offshoot of Tangled Art + Disability, a project that’s been staging temporary art exhibits by disabled people across the country for the past 15 years.

“There isn’t really a permanent space to see amazing work by disabled people anywhere,” said the project’s artistic director Eliza Chandler.

“So we really wanted the community to find a proper place to engage with incredible art that’s produced by people with disabilities.”

The gallery is also a way to promote accessible curatorial practices. There will be art in its various forms from paintings and drawings to sculptures, textiles and performance-based art projects.

Visitors will also be provided with an opportunity to experience art through touch and audio description, so that it’s not only left to the “fully-sighted to enjoy artistic creation,” said Chandler.

The gallery will serve an educational purpose, offering to reshape people’s understanding of disability and creating an interactive environment with technology helping people to enjoy art in a new way, she said.

“I think this project will change people’s perspectives on what disabled people are capable of doing,” she said.

The opening exhibition is called Constructed Identities, created by Canadian artist Persimmon Blackbridge. It’s a collection of small sculptures made from wood and metal and representing different forms of disability, race and gender. The exhibition runs from May 4.

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