I am an anaplastologist - a facial prosthetist. I create small portraits for people to wear. In this field, I work with both soldiers and civilians who have facial differences, and struggle to be accepted by society. The public has been taught to be afraid of disfigurement. I have seen several polarizing art exhibits about disability, inviting the public to feel sorry for the subject, or to stare. We assume their disfigurement will alienate them from society until or unless they are ‘fixed.’
So how do we change the way the public views disfigurement?
We need to show something in common with the subject. This means I cannot make a single portrait, and expect the public to think my subject is as beautiful as an antique Roman marble – like I do. I need to show the subject in an environment, create a sense of time, and show relationships with other people. I have to create a story to make a portrait, so the viewer can see what is hidden behind a face.