Jason Wilsher-Mills uses iPads and Wacom tablets to create bright, celebratory and poignant works exploring themes of disability. His digital drawings are then translated into huge inflatable works or human-sized fibreglass sculptures. Colourful and bold, his works are acts of activism that are visually captivating and use their joyfulness to begin serious conversations.
The works on display at YSP were made in collaboration with learning-disabled groups across the country. Their stories are intertwined with the artist’s own across the surfaces of the sculptures, told through words and pictures. The central work is a 10-metre-long inflatable addressing basic human rights and respect, centred on access to Changing Places Toilets. Visitors can pass through a tunnel within the sculpture and read words from those with lived experience that convey the importance of this campaign. Wilsher-Mills highlights how, if we are to understand one other fully, we must acknowledge hierarchical systems of access and rights that are still not equal for everyone.
The artists’ figures are always covered with tattoo-like adornments, and frequently the word ‘love’. This acts a way to convey personal narratives and stems from the time when Wilsher-Mills was paralysed from the neck down as a child; his mum would paint on his face as this was something he could feel. For Wilsher-Mills these tattoos also connect with his background in a northern working-class family, where love was felt, though not necessarily stated in words, and often only found expression when inked into the skin.
Find out more here: ysp.org.uk/exhibitions/jason-wilsher-mills-jason-and-his-argonauts-in-love
More on Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Summer of Love: ysp.org.uk/exhibitions/the-summer-of-love
Jason Wilsher-Mills, I Am Argonaut, Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021 and produced by Shape Arts as part of the Adam Reynolds Award. Photo by Thierry Bal copy 2