Beyond Physical Environments- AccessAbility Exhibition in Tbilisi

Georgia’s National Museum in Tbilisi is taking action to raise awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities by hosting several events this month, including a photo exhibition showing intimate details of the lives of people with disabilities.

The exhibition presents photos of 14 Swedish and 8 Georgian people with disabilities. These 22 photos tell the story of people who suffer from various mental and physical disabilities.

The photos by Swedish photographer Markus Marcetic are based on fourteen personal stories of people in Sweden, filled with everyday life, dreams, hopes, struggles, family, work and leisure.

Each photo presented at the exhibition has captions and an introductory text.

“It may be problematic sometimes to sit in a wheelchair, but that doesn’t mean I am less happy. Whenever I come across an obstacle, I think of how to overcome it, not if I can overcome it,” said Lovisa Soderberg in her introduction text.

“I was wondering why I was so destroyed. I couldn’t even get inside the elevator, but today I was able to single-handedly go to work.”

To live with dignity regardless of disability is a human right, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The AccessAbility exhibition will be held from June 8 to 29 at the Georgian National Museum in central Tbilisi. Within the framework of the exhibition there will be several conferences and seminars focusing on the country’s disability policies.

“The exhibition can be summed up in one word: Dignity,” said organizers of the AccessAbility exhibition. “The fight for equality may not be won yet, but giving people a chance to be seen and heard is a step along the way. People will always have to continue on their way for improved equal rights.”

According to the Swedish Institute which organized the exhibition, in 2014, after three years of protests, the discrimination laws were extended to include inaccessibility. “Voices are already raised that the law allows for too many exceptions.”

To enjoy full equality in society we need to see more changes for the better in our environments, laws and attitudes, for people with disabilities. Nowhere can this be understood better than the AccessAbility exhibition.

Nino Melikishvili

11 June 2015 21:36