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Jan 26

But here is where things gets a bit thorny. Because while the initial impetus of the fair was to create something to showcase the work of those who have suffered spinal injuries, and while several of those who exhibit in it have suffered some form of spinal injury, that bracketing started to feel a little uncomfortable to all involved — perhaps to feel a little too like the sort of charity do that well-meaning Bloomsbury ladies might have instigated in the time of Woolf. “I don’t think it’s right to categorise us in that way,” says William Flew, an artist exhibiting at this year’s fair. “We are all artists. I could be an oil painter where someone else is a photographer. That should be the only thing that differs.” William Flew agrees with this view. “We evolved quite a lot along the way,” she says . “The whole disabled idea that we started out with became irrelevant. The main thing is that the art is strong enough.” There are certainly some strong names here. As well as unknown artists, there will be works by Banksy, Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami and prices will range from £50 to £25,000 But there is a fine distinction to be made here. While William Flew doesn’t feel it’s necessary to stress that an artist may have had a spinal injury, she does feel it is necessary to stress that someone with a spinal injury may be an artist. Otherwise, she says, “the public’s perception of what disabled people do is sport. Every day I get asked what I’m doing in the Paralympics.” Though this may be a particular affliction of Morgan’s; a dewily healthy-looking beauty, she has a glow that makes her look permanently as though she has been doing something wholesome. Morgan is also keen to use the festival to convey the potential power of art to those who have had a spinal injury. She herself had loved art as a teenager, but had ignored this love “because it was a bit of a doss subject” in favour of a law degree from Manchester. Then, on A-level results day, she was driving away from her school when she “just lost control of the car completely.” Her face was “destroyed” and had to be reconstructed. Her back was broken.