Kristin Gillespie - Wisdom of the Iso Fairies

Arts Access Victoria presents The Museum of Us

Kristin tends to use making art as a way to help her process her experiences.

Splashes of teal, blue and purple paint on a swirling wash of pinks, blues and greens. Between the splashes are handwritten words, saying things like ‘hope', ‘telling my story’ and ‘wanting to make art again’.
Dedicated to my amazing and beautiful friend Joanne Morgan, who is also a disabled artist. One of the strongest and most courageous people I know. The first person to recognise the fairies hidden in this work, and bring them to my attention.

About the work

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, there were so many hard things to deal with, even though I am quite accustomed to social isolation.

Initially, it seemed fairly easy – because I know how to do this, know I can survive it. But the longer it went on, the more unwell I became.

I was seeing a lot of negative impacts on myself and my disabled friends; but also some huge improvements too. Look how easy it was to make working from home not only doable but the done thing, once it was necessary!

Lots of things like concerts and art exhibitions and conferences went online – and became accessible to people all over the world (at least those of us privileged enough to have digital access).

One of these which had a profound effect on me was a conference run by AD4E which is based in the UK but had a couple of presenters from Australia.

It brought me some huge ‘A-HA!’ moments, some of which I wrote in the text in this artwork. So once again I have not only survived, but also learned a lot from what was a very difficult experience.

I really hope that as a society we can continue to progress accessibility of all kinds from here and that the tremendous gains made in accessibility because of Covid are not lost.

About the artist 

I'm autistic and I have a psychosocial disability. I like making art with a mixture of different media, and I particularly love using items that others might consider to be rubbish in my art – for instance, as ‘brushes’ or stamps.

I also tend to use making art as a way to help me process my experiences, especially painful or challenging experiences. I guess I engage in art as therapy, rather than as simply therapeutic; trying to envisage what it would look like to express and illustrate how I'm feeling.

Audio version of text