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Leg-braces in the Arts

There are few works of art containing leg-braces/braces but this is perhaps not surprising considering the taboos and negativity often associated with physical disability. The following are the ones I've found so far. Please let me know of others.

National Disability Arts Forum

UK organisation supporting disabled artists.

Hugh Fleetwood

See "The Leg-brace" an oil on canvas picture.

Frida Kahlo

Mexican born artist had polio when 6 years old and was later bed-ridden following an accident as a teenager. She is famous for her often disturbing images of herself in pain. I'm not aware of any leg-brace pictures by her but there is a famous one of her in a spinal brace.

Richard Kern

See "Lisa in leg brace" 11 x 14 inches, 1998

Eric Kroll
(adult content)

Although not in the category of an internationally famous artist, at least in a historical sense, his erotic photographs of women in leg-braces are worth a mention. Access to his website is on a members-only basis but there are preview pages that have open access

Bob Mauro

See "My autobiographical polio art series" Memories of a childhood with polio.

Helmut Newton

The world famous German portrait photographer who in the 1980s and 90s was famous for his graphical photographs of attractive models wearing orthopaedic appliances such as spinal braces and leg-braces. His images often challenge conventional views of beauty and femininity and certainly show that the wearing of orthopaedic appliances makes a beautiful women look even more erotic.

John Perceval

See "Polio Boy" Self Portrait in bed with polio, c.1943, Melbourne, Reed pen and ink on paper, Australian National Gallery, Canberra  

Jane Trengove

See Kate Reeves' page on Jane Trengove. See "Body Suits" - a caliper wrapped in blue mohair wool. This new covering rephrases the object as a fetish of a different calibre... ..........is replaced by a bonus & bonafide self-portrait of the artist as a little girl. It is an old black and white photograph (coloured the same bright blue as the wool) of young Jane, c. 1954, aged 18 months, recently disabled by polio, and incarcerated in a home-made wooden "spine-straightener". Strapped at the shoulders, waist and hips, cuffed at the feet, skull held in a perpetual state of straight-aheadedness by a brace, her gaze is directed sideways at the camera lens. "



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