Words can be used to oppress people or lift them up. These are some of the words my community has been called.
By Gabriella, aka Gabby Ledesma
Yes I am labeled with a disability. There are a lot of people with disabilities in this world, and we are all different. Yes my Art & Advocacy Consumer (see below) installation means a lot to me. Most of the words of the installation represent how WE feel inside and out of our lives.
I know my rights to have my own life, as it’s personal and private life for now. Part of my disability is that I have Mosaic Down Syndrome. I am 37 and my birthday is in October. While I do have feelings that I wish not to talk about, at the moment this is the real me.
I try my best every day to thank God while he is putting me on a new path; these last few months I have been going through a lot in my life. I care about putting pep in my step, with my two feet on the ground. With one step at a time, one goal at a time, one dream at a time and one year at a time, I am looking forward to the future.
I try to put myself in a path where I am staying positive by using meditation, affirmation, believing in myself and staying focused on my art and studies.
My health is the first priority, as I am getting healthier, watching what I eat. I really try hard not to eat junk food or drink soda, it’s terrible for the body. I only do good healthy options knowing it’s better for me and everyone else.
I try to put more pep in my step as I walk a little better, as I dance to good music on my phone, my brother introduced me to Spotify. I care about doing good things for once, I try my best to exercise when I have a time, fitting it into in my busy schedule. I have been encouraged by a lot of positive music from listening to Klove, plus my favorite musicians are the newsboys, mandisa, tobymac, francesca battistelli, and other christian music composers. Their music sends me good messages through their lyrics, I listen to them every day. I plan on staying an special olympics athlete and later on volunteering. I’m looking forward to being
These are the issues I am facing as a person with a disability in my environment. I hate the housing situation on craigslist, people asking for way too much money for a room, it’s just not fair. Plus the San Diego Section 8 wait list takes up to 10 years, I have already been on it for the past 6 years. In my life these things are not that fair to me, I’m wish things were different somehow.
I am an art student at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, California. At the college I am in my third year. I have been learning a lot while currently working hard in class. I still have at least 3 more semesters, I’m comfortable there, it feels like home. I get extra help with the DSPS Service center, they offer extra help, support and resources to me. Everyone uses the library on campus as students get help using the tutoring center, and the writing center. The campus puts on different events, I need to stay busy and stay focused in class first. I am a very quiet private person, hoping to finish and graduate in the year of 2020.
Even though I am a beautiful person with a disability I am really changing from the inside out. I am who I am these days saying I am ready for good change and to believe in myself. I am speaking up for who I am as God has always told me that in my dreams. I am determined to know my rights, you know that song from Aretha Franklin? about having respect for yourself. I have a lot of respect for myself, while I am still learning each day. I have always put that in my heart first while I love myself inside and out.
I have a cool story that I have to tell everyone starting next year in March of 2019 in Honor of Women’s History Month at Mira Costa college. Who is going to support me and come watch me talk about my story on campus?
What inspired my artwork Consumer? Well I got the idea from an artist Andy Warhol he was one of my inspirations. Consumer is my debut installation, a process oriented work of art almost a year in the making. I also get inspired from other things around me, when I have a chance to find inspiration in my spare time.
Consumer examines the language that we use to describe, categorize, label, and measure people with developmental disabilities, and how a thought process rooted in that language affects people with disabilities and our relationship with them. Consumer provides a rare reflective point of view; offering insight as to how the artist and her peers believe they are perceived by others. Consumer uses familiar imagery and common language, combining them in such a way as to cause viewers to consider or reconsider each element – each can, each label, and their own experience with these words in a new light.
The installation draws its inspiration from Warhol’s 1962 work Campbell’s Soup Cans. Warhol’s installation provoked critics to question and debate the parameters of fine art, and invited viewers to reconsider what subjects were worthy of being discussed. It is fitting that this installation derives its visual design from Warhol’s iconic artwork about reexamination, mass production, and a refocusing of ideas.
This piece is important to me because I want everyone else to know who I am, everyone has a chance to know and feel the way with my piece collection/installation and to express my feelings in my artwork as well. I make art so that the community I live in has a better understanding of who I am and what it means to be disabled. Consumer looks at the language that is used not only by society but the disabled community to describe individuals within that community. Words can be used to oppress people or lift them up. These are some of the words my community has been called.
Gabby’s art installation Consumer will be on display through Feb. 8 at Warehouse916, 9072 Elk Grove Blvd. in Old Town Elk Grove, California. The reception is Saturday, Dec. 15 from 6 – 9 PM. You can follow Gabby on Facebook and her website is here. Consumer is on loan from the art program Claraty Arts in Santa Cruz.