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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 39, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2019

Devan Stahl
Pages 251-268
DOI: 10.5840/jsce2019102312

The Prophetic Challenge of Disability Art

For many persons with chronic illness and disability, medical images can come to represent their stigmatized “otherness.” A growing group of artists, however, are transforming their medical images into works of visual art, which better represent their lived experience and challenge viewers to see disability and illness differently. Although few of these artists are self-professed Christians, they challenge the Church to live into the communion to which it has been called. Using a method of correlation, Christian ethicists can find within this art the potential for: (1) creative resistance to modern deployments of biopower, (2) a celebration of divine poiesis, (3) opportunities for communion, and (4) prophetic challenges to the cult of normalcy. Disability art encourages a new ethic of communion in which embodied vulnerabilities are shared, celebrated, and reoriented toward the ground of being.

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