In a starkly beautiful dance of transcendence and struggle, renowned UK performer Claire Cunningham delves into the work of medieval Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch, to explore religion, religious art, and the judgment of souls and bodies.
Through tests of both body and faith, Give Me a Reason to Live explores images of disabled people, from Bosch’s apocalyptic paintings to today’s depictions in media. It is also a potent memorial to the disabled victims of both the Nazis’ euthanasia program and the UK government’s current ‘welfare reform’.
Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the use/misuse of her crutches, seizing space and physicality to create an aesthetic entirely her own. Powerfully physical, visually striking, and set to a mesmerising score, Give Me a Reason to Live invites us to consider our own empathy, sympathy or indifference, in a work of both generosity and brutal immediacy.
Claire Cunningham is a Glasgow-based performer and creator of multi- disciplinary performance. One of the UK’s most renowned disabled artists, her work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality, with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques developed for non-disabled bodies and any attempt to move with the pretence of a body or aesthetic other than her own.
Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show ME (Mobile/Evolution) (2009) to the large ensemble work 12 – made for Candoco Dance Company. In 2014 she created Give Me a Reason to Live and the full-length show Guide Gods, which looks at perspectives of the major faith traditions towards the issue of disability.
She is a former artist-in–residence at the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank, London, and of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens University. In 2016, Claire will be Tramway’s (Glasgow) Associate Artist and Perth International Arts Festival’s Artist In Residence.
“There is so much heart and intellect, courage and integrity here: Cunningham pushes boundaries not just for disability rights, but for us all” – The Herald, Scotland
Choreographer / Performer: Claire Cunningham Lighting Design: Karsten Tinapp Sound Design: Zoë Irvine Cello: Matthias Herrmann Costume: Shanti Freed
Give Me a Reason to Live
Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Season: 9 – 11 March 2016
For more information, visit: www.clairecunningham.co.uk for details.
Image: Claire Cunningham in Give Me a Reason to Live