PHOTOGRAPHS BY Jen White-Johnson
PRESENTED BY Photoville
PRINTED BY Digital Silver Imaging
PHOTOVILLE FESTIVAL 2023, June 3-18, Brooklyn Bridge Park, NY
Overlayed photo prints on top of vinyl wrap, the interior of the container was clad with plywood to create a flat surface, and then vinyl wrap was applied on top of the plywood. Flex LED neon strips were also applied on top of vinyl prints for a sense of playfulness.
1 x 20ft Container, approximately 19’ 5” long, 7’ 7” wide, and 7’ 9” tall
I didn't begin thinking about my own disability and neurodivergence until my son was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 3.
All photos for the exhibition were taken between 2013-2023
I felt it essential to begin redefining my role as a disabled parent who was raising a disabled child by exploring how my art and design practice could inform a framework for community engagement and advocate for autistic communities.
This includes breaking the visual cycle of unjust stigmas within social and clinical practices in the process.
This led me to release an advocacy photo zine in 2018 entitled KnoxRoxs, which I dedicated to my autistic son, as a way to give visibility to children of color in neurodiverse communities.
My definition of mothering as an act of resistance aims to empower and activate change encouraging families and communities to engage in conversations about acceptance and love, starting with how neurodivergent children and adults are treated valued, and seen.
The framework further amplifies what happens when one centers disabled parenting on identifying social inaccuracies that should be dismantled.
Photo collage and zine-making are my favorite art-making tools that my *Neurodivergent brain uses to express my radical joy in spaces where mainstream perceptions of marginalized NeuroMinorities are rooted in stigma and ableism. The artwork you see in this zine tool kit offers my visual interpretation and definition of what Neurodivergent mothering can mean and achieve. My art and design-making practice centers on disability joy and justice. It continues to be paramount for art to shift the stigma, uplifting disabled lives and their authentic ways of creating.
Autistic Joy is a true act of resistance! Many mothers of disabled and Neurodivergent black and brown kids have to watch the oppressive way their kids are dehumanized, leaving the unjust stigma of their disabilities given more value than their joy.