A little something from last year – The Maze was made as part of a discussion and project to raise awareness of disability in the UK, and the difficulties of getting help and support.
For people with both physical and mental disabilities the process of applying for and actually recieving help from benefit agencies is incredibly difficult. There are so many hoops to jump through, 100s of pages of forms to fill out (repeatedly, in some cases, even when illnesses are chronic or terminal), coupled often with unsympathetic treatment.
With this piece I wanted to make something like an editorial illustration, only without one specific story. I wanted to express the looming difficulty of applying for help, with the feeling of something horrible waiting at the end that, instead of helping you, will hurt you more. The entrance is lined with skulls in reference to the people who die while waiting for benefits, who die because they were denied help, or because they have their benefits taken away.
I am only one artist, and by luck and chance, have no disabilities that affect my ability to work and provide for myself. But I have friends and loved ones who do, and even if I didn’t, the fact that people with disabilities have to go through so much of this dangerous nonsense is heartbreaking.
I’ve included a couple of links to articles that I read during my research, but I encourage you to seek out more, especially writing from the disabled community in the UK, as their voices will tell the story far better than mine.
Guardian Article on Benefit Sanctions: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/20/sanctions-disabled-people-claimants-tough-lov
BBC Article on changes to PIP:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42862904
Dean Parsons (A parkinsons sufferer) poem about his experiences:https://deanparsons.net/2018/02/27/dear-theresa-may/