Constructed Identities by Persimmon Blackbridge

Monday July 26, 2021 – Friday Aug 20, 2021
Pendulum Gallery

Sculpture Photo Credit: Della McCreary

Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture is thrilled to present the solo exhibition “Constructed Identities” by Persimmon Blackbridge, one of Canada’s most recognized Artists that identifies as living with a disability.

Constructed Identities, a major show of work by Persimmon Blackbridge, uses mixed media wood carving with found objects to question how disability is framed as a fracturing of ordinary life rather than a normal, expected part of it. Her exploration of the figure begins in disability, but necessarily complicates itself as our embodied identities intersect and overlap. 

Pendulum Gallery
HSBC Building, 885 West Georgia, Vancouver BC

Gallery Hours: 
Monday – Wednesday: 9am – 6pm
Thursday & Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm

Admission to Pendulum Gallery is free to the public and wheelchair accessible

The exhibition will be available for in-person viewing, following COVID guidelines set out by the province of British Columbia.

Sculptures and Exhibition Catalogue will be available for purchase by contacting Kickstart/
Additionally, sculptures will be available to be viewed online (below) starting Monday July 26th

About The Artist

Photo Credit: SD Holman

For the past 45 years, Persimmon Blackbridge has worked as a sculptor, writer, curator and performer, as well as being a fiction editor, cleaning lady and very bad waitress. Blackbridge’s pioneering contribution to queer art in Canada began with Still Sane, a 1984 collaboration with Sheila Gilhooly, inspired by the latter’s three-year psychiatric incarceration for being a lesbian.

Photo Credit: SD Holman

In the 1990s, Blackbridge was a member of the lesbian art collective Kiss & Tell. Their touring erotic arts exhibition Drawing the Line helped turn the tide in the feminist sex wars—pro artistic sexual expression, anti-censorship. Kiss & Tell’s ground breaking exhibition True Inversions, presented at the Banff Centre in 1992, sparked a political confrontation in Alberta around arts funding and censorship.

Blackbridge has also been a seminal figure in the disability arts from the 70s until the present. Sunnybrook: a True Story with Lies is a visual art show and book about abuse in Woodlands Institution, which won New York’s Ferro-Grumley Prize. In 1998, Blackbridge was invited to collaborate with 28 former inmates with intellectual disabilities on From the Inside/Out, an art exhibit chronicling their lives in BC’s big institutions. This exhibit traveled widely and was one of the factors gaining reparations for former residents of Woodlands. Blackbridge’s most recent show, Constructed Identities, uses mixed media wood carving with found objects to question how disability is framed as a fracturing of ordinary life rather than a central part of it.

THIS BODY OF WORK is built of overlapping splinters of meaning: disability, the femme gaze, dead friends, racism, endless rain – all at once, as these things act on us all at once in our day to day lives. These layered meanings are reflected in the phrases spanning the edges of the panels – not defining a single piece or grouping, but opening questions and evoking alternate understandings of the series as a whole.”

THESE FIGURES ARE AWKWARD and fit together from broken parts, not because we (we people, we strange, ordinary people whose bodies defy the default) are broken, but because we are human — and the human condition is awkward, contradictory, stitched together from disparate pieces. The figures also reflect power and beauty, not because we have in any final way freed ourselves, but because we have strength, grace and wonder, inseparable from our grief, confusion and anger.”

About Our Guest Curator

Yuri Arajs is a working artist who has dedicated much of his practice to advocating for fellow artists, including artists who live with a disability. He has founded and run a number of arts organizations and art galleries in the US and in Canada over the last 20 years, including as former Gallery Director of Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts and Outsiders and Others in Minneapolis; as former Artistic Director of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture in Vancouver, BC, and Executive Director of newly launched Outsiders and Others in Vancouver, BC.

His advocacy in the arts community focuses on working with, showing, and facilitating public exposure and financial compensation for self-taught and non-traditional artists. Yuri has been recognized by the press and received numerous awards for his arts advocacy and promotion, as well as for his curatorial work as a gallerist, and was named most influential curator by the Minnesota Monthly in 2008. Yuri is also an accomplished artist, holding three degrees, including a Masters of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is in both private and public collections.

Virtual Opening & Artist Talk

Missed our Virtual Opening & Artist Talk?! Check out the video below and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel – we’re working to upload more recordings from past programming!

Check Out the LiveStreamed Gallery Walkthrough hosted by Jenna Reid

Virtual Gallery

Interested in purchasing a sculpture or exhibition Catalogue?
Send us an email at [email protected]

A limited Number of exhibition catalogues are available for purchase.
$20 for General Public or $10 for Kickstart Members

*purchase price includes postage for ONE catalogue. additional postage charge at cost of purchaser will be applied for additional catalogues.

All Payments will be taken by PayPal – you will receive an invoice from Kickstart for your purchase. Sale will be considered complete when Kickstart receives funds.

To Purchase A Catalogue please include the following information:
– Full Name
– Email Address (to receive PayPal invoice)
– Number of Catalogues
– Mailing Address or Indicate if you wish to arrange local pickup in Vancouver

Price statement From Persimmon

Art takes time. For an artist to get paid a reasonable wage, only rich people can afford to buy art work. If art is a luxury good for well-off people instead of a vibrant part of a larger community, its meaning is twisted and diminished. Most artists live a precarious financial life. Pricing my art is a struggle between these irreconcilable facts; my solutions are always provisional and unsatisfactory. That’s how it goes in this time and place.

My current compromise is: if you have a low income, you can pay less than the suggested price, down to a minimum price that’s really low in terms of art pricing, but still really high in terms of what many people can afford. Set your own level where you think it should be, between the suggested price and the minimum. Kickstart is handling the sales, and no one will question the price you set. They know the deal, so just tell them what you’ll be paying. 

To Purchase a Sculpture please include the following information:
– Full Name
– Email Address (to receive PayPal invoice)
– Name of piece and price you wish to pay
– Indicate whether you will pick-up locally in Vancouver (after August 21st) OR if you wish to have piece mailed. Please Note: the purchaser will be responsible for postage which will include tracking and insurance

To View Artwork Click The Numbers Below

About Kickstart Disability Arts

Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture is a Vancouver based arts non-profit that supports and promotes artists who identify as living with disabilities.

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