Diversely abled artists to showcase works in Maple Ridge

Vicuña art Studio is a space dedicated to promoting talented individuals who identify as diversely abled

Since time immemorial, people have expressed their thoughts and feelings through different forms of art and often, that art is a beacon of hope. That is exactly why Maria Daley wanted to open a space for people who identify as people with different abilities.

The mission of the space is to give individuals with diverse abilities opportunities for creative expression through the Ridge-Meadows Association for Community Living. Currently, they have 50+ artists working with them through the association’s referral program and have sold their works to the public.  

After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, these diverse individuals are showcasing their works at the Winter Art Show happening Friday and Saturday at the art studio. Some of these artists have drawings and paintings in public spaces like the Blenz on Dewdney Trunk Road and Mr. Lunch near the studio.

“There will be artist demos, artists will share how they create their work, painting and sculptures and pottery works. We’ll be selling art cards and Christmas ornaments made from artists’ paintings,” Dhanha Lee, Director and Art Instructor at Vicuna shared.

We treat artists as artists and not people with ‘disabilities.’ They don’t come with a label.

Dhanha Lee

Lee and others call these talented artists people with diverse abilities rather than differently-abled or disabled.

“I feel [that] we want to say how we define normal and not normal, ability and disability so the term diverse abilities is [an evolving] new term because it represents people with different ability levels. We treat artists as artists and not people with ‘disabilities.’ They don’t come with a label.”

Lee shared stories of two talented artists that work with the studio. One of them lost his sight and makes sculptures by touch and feel. Lee expressed fascination with the way he creates landmarks and historical monuments and figures.

“He created a fruit bowl last year. I instruct him verbally and explain the image to him and he makes everything by touching and feeling.”

Another artist, whom she described as introverted, spends his time drawing. The artist has an incredible sense of perspective and creates characters and scenes from his memory.

His favourite scenes to create are bus stops, malls, picnics and he enjoys working independently.

“There are artists with different ability levels and some require guidance and instructions while others work independently,” Lee shared.

All works will be available for sale and range from $50 to $200, varying in size.

The Winter Art Show is taking place on November 26 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kingston Gallery #1 – 11491 Kingston Street, Maple Ridge.  

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