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Marlene le Roux’s Look At Me Exhibition Set for UCT (Programme)

Look At Me Marlene le RouxMillions of South Africans have physical disabilities, but often the biggest foe they must overcome to lead happy, fulfilling lives is the stares of the able-bodied – the social stigmatization that exacts a terrible toll on their outlook and wellbeing.

Marlene le Roux sought to change perceptions with her book, Look at Me, which showcases the sensuality, strength and courage of 23 disabled women. Some were born with their disability; others got it through an accident or illness later in life.

The photographs in Look at Me, taken by Lucie Pavlovich, are now part of a travelling exhibition that has arrived at UCT’s Centre for African Studies, as part of a programme coordinated by the university’s Disability Unit. The images will hang in the CAS Gallery (Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building Level 3, UCT Upper Campus) until the second week of September, but are generally available for public viewing only during the scheduled events:

Tuesday 18 August: “Health and Disability” 3:30 – 5:30pm
Thursday 20 August: “Gender, Sexuality and Disability” 1 – 2pm
Tuesday 25 August: “Finding Beauty in Difference: Disability and Aesthetics” 1 – 2:30pm
Thursday 27 August: “Recording Disability: Life Stories and Social Consciousness” 1 – 2pm

To arrange to visit the CAS Gallery outside of these times, please contact the Centre for African Studies on 021 650 2308.

The “Look at Me” exhibition opened earlier this year and had a stint at the Paarl Taal museum. Here is more information from the sponsor, the British Council:

‘This exhibition was intended to affirm not only women with disabilities, but all women. The exhibition is for every woman who has asked herself “who am I?”, or tried to tailor herself according to the acceptance of others.

‘The photographs and stories allow women to reflect on their struggles and their inner journey to personal self-mastery,’ says Le Roux.

‘I realised from a young age that society puts people with disabilities in a box with an “ag shame” [pitying] attitude and I felt I wanted to celebrate who I am – disability and all.’

Le Roux says writing the book Look at Me took her on a journey of self-discovery.

‘I realised that only a person with disabilities can change the mindset of society. With this in mind I started this personal journey and it dawned on me that the road to self-acceptance and sensuality is painful and challenging every single day.’

Book details

Photo courtesy Die Burger


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