Celebrating the work of Deaf and disabled artists

Published Thursday 10 October by Owen

Liberty The Mayor of London’s free festival celebrating the work of Deaf and disabled artists is coming to Waltham Forest on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 November, presenting an exciting weekend of cutting edge arts in the spaces and places of Walthamstow.

Two immersive installations will be featured in Walthamstow for the duration of Liberty. In artist Nwando Ebizie’s Afrofuturist immersive tech installation Distorted Constellations the brain becomes a fragmented labyrinth, inspired by the artist’s rare neurological disorder, Visual Snow. Audiences will also be invited to take a journey through Architects of Air’s monumental inflatable sculpture of colour, air and light Arboria in Lloyd Park behind the William Morris Gallery. Both installations will open before the weekend to allow more time to be enjoyed and experienced.

Liberty will launch on Saturday 23 November with a club night from Deaf Rave, alongside DJ and BSL workshops. This will be followed by a full day of creative and thought-provoking artist performances, new commissions, and visual art in venues across Walthamstow on Sunday 24 November. 

Candoco Dance Company will present pop-up performances of You and I Know, choreographed by Arlene Philips. Dancers Joel and Laura offer audiences a potent and emotive exploration of how we fall in and out of love over and over again, often with the same person. Multi-award-winning writer Byron Vincent presents his thought-provoking Instagramming the Apocalypse, a performance piece examining his own anxiety disorder in the face of the modern malaise.

Original work developed as part of the London Borough of Culture Fellowship Funding programme will be on show at Liberty, including E17 local Shyne Phiri’s dance piece about human interdependence, strength and vulnerability developed with Stopgap Dance. Handprint Theatre will present a special performance and arts workshop for young deaf and hearing audiences called Our Patchwork Community.

St Helens-based Heart of Glass will work with artist the vacuum cleaner (James Leadbitter) to bring elements of their Madlove Take Over Festival to Bangs Hair Salon.  The festival places mental health centre stage and creates a space for art, conversation and care. In collaboration with world famous disability company, Touretteshero, they will present a Knowledge Exchange project in the salon for this year’s Liberty festival. Madlove Take Over will also be presented as part of Art Assembly, which is taking place in Walthamstow on Saturday 23 November. 

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted that our Liberty festival is once again showcasing some of the finest deaf and disabled artists and performers in the world. Waltham Forest has pulled out all the stops to put on an unparalleled performance of disability arts and entertainment. This year’s festival has something for everyone, so my message to Londoners and visitors is to go and enjoy the many performances, sessions and workshops taking place.”

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Mayor of London to bring Liberty to Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019. As we move towards the end of the year, we can showcase some of the fantastic work developed through our grants programmes this year, alongside some of the nation's leading companies working with D/deaf and disabled artists. Liberty is an example of our commitment to supporting the capacity of local businesses and venues to host cultural activity, and to make what they do more accessible and inclusive for all.” 

Most performances will be free to drop-in, with a number of free ticketed talks and workshops. All venues taking part in Liberty will have a range of access facilities, and there will be additional accessible transport available to take audiences between events. 

London Borough of Culture is working with live music and event accessibility charity Attitude is Everything to support Waltham Forest venues to make what they do more accessible and inclusive for D/deaf and disabled people.

Click here to find out what's on at Liberty