e d g e - education for disability and gender equity

CULTURE
CONTENTS

1
Introduction
2
Stereotyping
3
Disability in Media
4
Disability & Art
5
Charity Images
6
Telethons
7
News Media
8
Disability Culture
 
9
ACTIVITY
10
RESOURCES
   

DISABILITY CULTURE PROFILE: Dan Keplinger

Keplinger painting using a head stick
Dan Keplinger painting using a paintbrush on a headset.

"Art gives me a freedom -- a way to communicate," says visual artist Dan Keplinger, whose speech impairment makes him difficult for most people to understand. As a painter, he expresses powerful ideas and emotions which reach audiences in profound ways. "Art came from emotion very deep inside of me, saying what I had never said before, taking me in a new direction as far as I could go, and then to a new place. With painting, I could express myself clearly without anybody interpreting for me."

Keplinger was profiled in an award-winning HBO film called "King Gimp." The documentary was produced and directed by two professional, nondisabled filmmakers; but most of the script was written by Keplinger himself, thus ensuring that his self-perception drove the telling of his story. In the film, when Keplinger talks, his words appear as captions at the bottom of the screen.

Questions for Discussion: Painting by Keplinger - "Self Portrait"

  • Look at these images of Keplinger's work (see more on his web site), and of him creating his work. If you did not know anything about Keplinger, and you saw his paintings in a gallery, would you guess that he has a disability? Now that you do know about him, can you see anything in his paintings which you think might come partly from his experience as a man with a disability?
  • What do you think is the relationship between color and emotion in Keplinger's work?
  • Why do you think Keplinger wanted to participate in making a movie about his life? Are there ideas which can only be expressed in words, and not in visual images? Are there ideas which can only be expressed as visual images?

(Next - Disability Culture Profile: Laura Hershey)


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