Accident That Changed Emilie Gossiaux Lives
Think about how quickly your life could change. Emilie Gossiaux, an art student at the Cooper Union in 2010, had that happen to her. She was biking in Brooklyn when she was hit by an 18-wheeler. She had a traumatic brain injury, a stroke, and several broken bones. Even though she got her life back, she lost her sight. The question came up: could she keep making art, or did she even want to?
A Love of Art as a Child
Since she was 4, Emilie’s best thing to do was copy TV cartoons. She gave drawing lessons at the playground for 25 cents when she was a child in New Orleans. She gained better visual attention even though she had hearing loss at age 5. Her dream was to have big art shows in museums as an artist.
Getting used to being blind
Emilie Gossiaux faced her inner doubts about her artistic skills after the accident. She learned how to get around on her own while working at BLIND Incorporated in Minneapolis for 11 months. And then, she got used to her new life by using a white cane and learning how to coordinate her hands. She went back to Cooper Union and graduated in 2014.
Emilie Gossiaux Finding a New Way to Make Art
Emilie Gossiaux learned to pay attention to her body and understood how important it was to rest and think. She let herself think about her work without any strict rules. She felt free to think of ideas and make things in her office at the Queens Museum, where she was a resident artist.
An Honor to Guide Dog London, “Other-Worlding”
Emilie’s dream comes true with her first solo art show, “Other-Worlding,” which runs until April 7. The show honors her special bond with London, her 13-year-old guide dog. It breaks down boundaries and shows how animals are connected to the natural world.
The Setting Up
Emilie’s show has three papier-maché statues of dog-women, which are supposed to represent London, dancing around a maypole, which is represented by a big white cane. The statues have felt leashes that hang from the canes to represent freedom. The platform is decorated with papier-maché trees and flowers that have 600 leaves that were all hand-made and painted.
Fun and Games Studies
Three pen and crayon studies of London’s happiness are on display. There is a clear rhythmic movement in Emilie’s work, which shows how she feels connected to London.
How Emilie Changed Accessibility
Emilie Gossiaux is an artist, but she also fights for the rights of disabled people. Her “touch tours” for blind and low-vision guests show that she wants everyone to feel welcome. With tactile lines and Braille works, her presence at the Queens Museum has made it easier for people with disabilities to visit.
A Plan for Change
Emilie’s art goes against common ideas about blind people. Others have been moved by her work, including Andrew Leland, who bought one of her pieces. He says Emilie did a great job of showing freedom and fighting the negative stereotypes about the white cane.
Beyond the Lines
Feminist ideas like Donna Haraway have affected Emilie’s art, which breaks down social roles. It changes the focus from people to animals, making a world where human and animal bodies live together. The fact that she was able to show this through her art shows how powerful talent and strength can be.
Art and activism come together
The way Emilie Gossiaux went from tragedy to success shows how strong the human spirit can be. Not only does her art go beyond her own problems, it also questions how people think about disability in general. Emilie continues to change the art world so that it is more open and welcoming as a campaigner and an artist.