Deaf artist Christopher Sacre is to tackle a 300 mile London to Paris bike ride, raising money for the disability-led arts charity Shape Arts. The Chatham-based visual artist hopes to raise £1500 for the charity which has played a vital role in his career development, so that it can continue to support the next generation of disabled artists.
Christopher comments: “After graduating in 1999 from Wolverhampton School of Art and Design I moved to London to begin my artistic career. Through word of mouth I was told about Shape Arts, an organisation that supports Deaf and disabled artists. Being a Deaf visual artist I approached them. Without their support and access I would not be where I am today, and because of this I want to support Shape so they are able to do the same for future generations of artists.”
Christopher Sacre has been exhibiting his work since 2000 at numerous solo and group exhibitions in Kent, London and even as far away as Washington DC. Dedicated to helping others with impairments, Christopher has worked in a number of galleries (including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Turner Contemporary), museums and organisations working with Deaf and hearing children, leading workshops and activities in British Sign Language (BSL). His mission is to enable young people to experience the same thrill of creativity as he enjoys himself.
He continues: “In my career I have faced barriers and a lack of access such as the provision of a British Sign language (BSL) interpreter for art related activities in the early years. It is vitally important that Deaf and disabled artists are treated equally and given the same opportunities to develop their artistic practice.”
A key part of Shape’s work is the Inspiring Futures programme, which works with young disabled people under the age of thirty, supporting them to think more positively about their futures and specifically about working in the arts. For artists, Shape runs an exhibitions programme and has a number of pop-up galleries, most notably one at Westfield Stratford in East London, where Christopher Sacre has exhibited work.
Shape also runs bursary schemes and commissioning programmes supporting disabled artists to develop their work and providing opportunities to showcase in cultural institutions including Southbank Centre, V&A, Turner Contemporary, Tate Modern and more. The London to Paris Bike Ride happens in April 2015, with Christopher taking on the 300 mile challenge over four days. “I am extremely unfit and haven’t taken part in any major physical activity for over 10 years which is why this will certainly be a huge achievement for me to complete cycling 300 miles in four days.”
To make a donation to support Christopher please visit www.justgiving.com/Sacrecycles4shape
Shape is a disability-led arts organisation working to improve access to culture for disabled people by developing opportunities for disabled artists, training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people, and running participatory arts and development programmes. www.shapearts.org.uk