On International Day of People with a Disability, Bendigo company CreateAbility challenges ‘don’t stare’ mindset

“Don’t stare.”

That is what we are told to do when we encounter people who look different to ourselves. 

But a performance inside Bendigo Art Gallery on Friday is challenging that notion, putting people with a disability at the centre of the public’s gaze.  

First devised by New York company Heidi Latsky Dance,On Display is performed around the world on International Day of People with a Disability. 

The Bendigo performance is a joint initiative of the art gallery and mixed ability dance troupe CreateAbility.

On Display creates a safe and creative space for us to really look at each other and our differences,” the dance company’s creative director, John Willis, said.

CreateAbililty is a contemporary arts company based in Bendigo, established in 2002 to provide people with disabilities opportunities to engage in the arts and present their work publicly.

The group acts under the auspices of Golden City Support Services.

That organisation’s chief executive officer, Ian McLean, said creative expression was a means to social inclusion.

"We are so proud to be a part of CreateAbility; we work to create social change that brings people together,” he said.

The company on Friday became the recipient of a $30,000 state government grant, part of Regional Centre for Culture funding.

It will use the money to devise and perform Dendron, an original work exploring the community’s relationship with the forest.   

ON DISPLAY will be performed at Bendigo Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.