Emilie Gossiaux
Featured Artist

In my practice as a multidisciplinary artist who is also blind, the work that has fulfilled me the most has been translating my inner worlds into the physical realm through drawings, ceramics, and sculptural installations. Creating works based on my dreams, visual memories, and my sense of touch, my tactile drawings become meditations of these interior visions. They aid me in conceptualizing the sculptures that I build out of malleable materials like clay, papier-mâché, and polystyrene foam. Currently, my work explores themes of interdependence, Disability joy, and the intersectionality between the experiences of disabled people and non-human species centering on the decade long relationship I’ve had with my Guide Dog, and animal companion, London. Transcending the traditional binary between pets and owners, I describe our partnership as one that is simultaneously maternal, spousal, emotional, and practical— a bond built upon years of mutual respect, care, and trust. While celebrating the love and agency London gives me, I am also conscious of the dehumanization I’ve faced when moving through the world attached to a dog. This experience fuels my interests in how both disabled people and animals are perceived as the “other”— whose emotions, intelligences, and autonomies have been oppressed by the anthropocene’s enforced hierarchy between non-disabled and disabled people, as well as between humans and non-human species. In my sculptures, I enforce London’s own agency by monumentalizing her body in human scale, either standing upright on her hind legs, or freely dancing with joy. And with my creations of fantastical, humanoid beings, I hybridize my body with an animal’s as a way to embrace my own animality, and to dismantle this hierarchy. With my work, I want to change my audience’s perception of disability, and to create anti-anthropocene, anti-ableist spaces where all humans and animals can coexist as equals.