DAN, Disabled Artists' Network, History












In 2013, I launched a series of rolling exhibitions to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and to promote creativity as a coping mechanism for disability. My poetry raised awareness of what living with PTSD feels like, while my photography demonstrated my escape from the ‘Chains of PTSD’. 

My exhibitions, ‘Living with PTSD’ and ‘Intimacy with Plants’ ran over a 12 month period from November 2013 and surpassed all of the goals that I’d set.  While allowing me to interact with and listen to other people with disabilities, civilians and veterans alike – I was made aware of similar problems being experienced by others but on a much wider scale.   People were opening up at the exhibitions by either leaving comments in the Guestbook, through social media or talking to me directly.  Some people thought that PTSD only affected veterans.  I spoke to some people that described symptoms of PTSD whose symptoms started after incidents as wide ranging as sexual abuse, to bullying and road traffic accidents. 

One issue was made clear to me: there is still a lot of ignorance about Mental Health related conditions, not just PTSD, in society.  I was given examples of that ignorance as people relayed stories of how they’d been mistreated by professionals and, unfortunately, these included police officers, paramedics, solicitors, barristers, doctors, GPs, nurses and NHS admin staff in parts of the East Midlands and further afield.  There is also a tremendous amount of ignorance about the link between physical health and mental health.  If people with mental health conditions are isolated and stay indoors without any exercise, they can develop physical health issues.  If active, social people find themselves isolated because of a physical injury they can develop a mental health condition.  

I started setting up DAN in 2015.  I wanted to give others a chance to tell their own story about disability and creativity and how it’s helped them to survive.  I didn’t rule out non-disabled artists but I needed to prioritise raising the profiles of disabled artists in our communities. It’s free to exhibit your art with DAN and you don’t have to live in the local area; we have an international membership.  It’s a chance for artists to tell their own story and inspire others to do the same.   The exhibition venue is Tesco Bulwell Extra, Jennison Street, Nottingham NG6 8EQ. The work is also showcased on www.wolf-photography.com, https://www.facebook.com/Wolf.Photographer and on https://www.youtube.com/c/WolfPhotographyVideos.

I hope you'll join in ... and tell your story through your art.

Villayat 'SnowMoon Wolf' Sunkmanitu
Disabled Artists' Network