Fibers of Being

By Lauren Henschel, Duke MFA 2020

Henschel in a film still from Fibers of Being
Image description: an outline of a woman’s body, with rough layers of black, gray and white, is seated with hands on lap, outlined by a dark background. Her gaze is directed to the left side of the image, and she is in dialogue with another figure that is only partially visible.

“As Lauren Henschel was finishing Fibers of Being, her MFA EDA thesis exhibition, the world changed. The work, an intensely personal examination of vulnerability and mortality, was made suddenly, universally relevant by the coronavirus crisis at the same moment it became impossible for the public to visit…”

Henschel, an artist with psoriatic arthritis, created a multilayered, multi-sensory installation using 16mm film (processed by hand and incorporating her medications and bodily fluids), sounds, stills, and organic life. The installation was designed with the principles of collective access in mind, and explores themes of the body, genetics, inheritance and mortality.

From Henschel’s artist’s statement: “My purpose is to foster consciousness around this ‘condition,’ of residing in the temporary shelter of a body, of the impermanent and illusory concept of being well, and to engender empathy for people who live inside this awareness every day.”

Read an article about the installation and view film clips here!

Take a Breather

By Chandler Naylon

What do shoes have to do with activism? A lifelong sneaker enthusiast and sneaker reseller, Chandler Naylon considers the relationship between sports and mental health. He painted a pair of Nike Air Force 1s with an original design, encouraging us to “Never Settle” but also to “Take A Breather.” His website includes a photo gallery of the sneakers and a detailed description of the design and the meaning behind it. It also introduces his inspirations (including My Cause, My Cleats; Liz Beecroft; and Keith Haring).

A picture of the left shoe.
Image description: The left shoe is dark green and white, with a large gold Nike swoosh. The words “Never Settle” appear inside the swoosh in block letters. A series of black forward-facing arrows point toward the toe.
A picture of the right shoe
Image description: The right shoe is light green and white, with a white Nike swoosh. The words “Take a Breather” appear inside the swoosh in black block letters. Silhouette figures taking various active poses are lined up in a row toward the toe, in pink, green, blue, and red colors. They appear to be shooting hoops, stretching out their arms, and putting their arms around one another in mutual support.

Click here to see the sneakers on Instagram!

9 Disabled Activists from the Queer Rights Movement

By Colton Ortiz

An image gallery celebrating disabled heroes of the queer rights movement.

As millions across the country and around the world have learned to embrace their queer friends and neighbors, it is easy to forget the sheer number of individuals who fought for queer rights throughout history. It is even easier to forget those in the queer movement who were simultaneously trailblazers for other communities and movements. This Disability Pride Week, I want to highlight some of my personal heroes from the queer rights movement who beautifully lived at the intersection of queerness and disability.

Click here to enter the gallery!


Minor Movie Mentality

By Newland Zhang

These original cartoons offer a comical exploration of how mental disability is represented in kids’ movies and popular blockbusters, including The Lion KingAvengers EndgameChristopher Robin, and Inside Out… read more.

Image of a cartoon bird commenting on the hyenas in The Lion King
Image description: Under the heading “The Lion King,” there is an image of two cartoon hyenas using their teeth to pull brambles out of their own legs. A dialogue bubble from a third hyena, not pictured, reads, “Look at you guys. No wonder we’re dangling at the bottom of the food chain!” To the right of this image floats a blue bird wearing round white spectacles. The bird says, “First up, Animal Hamlet. This one’s problematic ‘cuz of our friend over on the left, Ed, or rather, how he’s depicted. He serves the sole purpose of comedic relief as the ‘craziest’ hyena, who the animators repeatedly show to be so crippled by his mental illness, he can’t even function. How could this possibly influence the kids watching this over and over with their poor oblivious parents?”