Humanitarian Cases

Alicja Żebrowska –Humanitarian Cases (click on link for video)original title: Przypadki humanitarne

The artist introduces two women at the same age and with the same intellectual capacity, while listening to the comments from the audience – abundant and varied since one of the women is attractive, healthy and naked, while the other is a person with a disability, wearing clothes and sitting on a wheelchair.

Perception of the female body – deeply enrooted in our culture – as serving exclusively the pleasure of the beholder is confronted here with the image of a person with a disability, from which we usually turn our eyes away. By pairing these two women, the artist juxtaposes two extremes – bipolar opposites of “gaze” – in order to analyse and lay bare the dominant outlook on reality permeating our culture, as well as something that she calls bad fate.

Apart from critique informed by feminism, another thing that makes itself manifest here is the question of sexuality of people with disabilities. Żebrowska derived inspiration, among other sources, from interviews with young men, who openly admitted that they considered a girl with a disability as devoid of sexuality whatsoever. The film comes as an expression of the artist’s broader interest in the image of and approach to people with disabilities in the society, which she put into practice by organising a cycle of debates around the project Humanitarian Cases.

References: A. Kwiecień, Na płaszczyźnie wyczekiwania. O wnikaniu tabu w twórczość artystyczną Alicji Żebrowskiej; „Fragile” nr 1/2008; Penetrowanie rzeczywistości. Rozmowa Anny Wiatr z Alicją Żebrowską, 2010,; Poszukiwanie jedności. Rozmowa Romana Bromboszcza z Alicją Żebrowską o środkach, przekazie i społecznych rytuałach, 2008,


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© Alicja Żebrowska. Courtesy lokal_30.