Wheelchairs on the red carpet: About time!

crip camp film oscar red carpet team photo

Sometimes I see a photo on my newsfeed that I instantly want to paint. When I saw the Crip Camp team looking very glamorous in their wheelchairs on the red carpet at the Oscars earlier this year, I immediately reached for my paintbrush and palette.

Photo Chris Pizzello/Pool/Rex
James Lebrecht Crip Camp director and Judy Heumann
Director Jim LeBrecht wearing a custom made Gucci tux and campaigner Judy Heumann with custom made Italian shoes.

In case you have missed it -don’t worry there is still time to catch up- Crip Camp is a hugely powerful and uplifting American documentary film about the disability revolution that started back in the 70s. It won the Sundance Audience Award in 2020 and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2021. The film was directed, written and co-produced by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht and executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama (which made me love them even more).

Speach marks

Our goal was that we could help reframe how people think about disabilities and people with disabilities, said LeBrecht who also features in the film.

Crip Camp film poster

Back in 1971 a group of disabled teenagers meet at Camp Jened, a summer camp in New York described as a ‘loose, free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities.’ The film follows their fascinating story on how they started a revolution, campaigning for disability rights. It is very moving but at the same time uplifting using lots of original footage.


Andraea LaVant and Goji Oscars 2021 Crip Camp oscar red carpet
Andraea LaVant and Goji looking glamorous at the Oscars

I shared my paintings on Instagram making sure to tag #cripcampfilm. To my delight I quickly started receiving messages from various members of the team. I love how technology and social media can bring people closer together no matter how far apart you are.  I received requests for additional paintings -making sure nobody was left out- so I ended up with a series of paintings of very inspiring individuals all linked to the fantastic Crip Camp film.

Rosemary McDonell-Horita and Sofia Webster Crip Camp team
Crip Camp team members Rosemary McDonell-Horita and Sofia Webster

The team then approached me and asked for permission to use my artwork for their campaign as part of #FanArtFriday, to which of course I agreed.

The Crip Camp impact campaign -made up of only 4 people- is widely regarded as one the most successful film impact campaigns of all time and I am so pleased that I was able to play a teeny, tiny role in it.

Director Jim LeBrecht with his wife and Crip Camp producer Sara Bolder

The campaign is far from over and I have huge admiration for everybody involved. I wish them all the best and I would like to encourage everyone to be a disability changemaker in your own community. Look out for the soon to be launched Crip Equity Collaborative (CEC) which will be promoting understanding of disability as a social justice issue.

Please follow @lavantconsulting #SpeakDisabilityWithConfidence on Instagram and in case you have not seen it yet, Crip Camp is available to watch on Netflix. You will love it!

Lucy McLoughlin signature
Live Event Artist based in Winchester, Hampshire

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