On Display Global

Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s wrong to stare at people with a disability, but averting one’s eyes, whether out of kindness, unease, or a little bit of both, is also a way to render that person invisible.

Challenging the collective understanding of seeing and being seen is the inspiration behind the worldwide art piece On Display Global. Honoring the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3, the far-flung installation consists of a human “sculpture court” created by disabled performers and is based on stillness, giving the viewer the ability to see and the performer the ability to see back.

On Display was created [in 2015] when a museum curator told me that whereas he saw real sculptures as beautiful he struggled with seeing real people portraying sculptures in the same way, especially those who had physical disabilities,” says Heidi Latsky, the brainchild of the project and founder and artistic director of Heidi Latsky Dance, a New York-based company that focuses on inclusivity and diversity.

“He was very ashamed of his response, but I was delighted he reached out to me to discuss this. I kept thinking about our exchange and formulated some creative responses. I wanted to create a safe space where the audience could really ‘look’ and the performers could ‘look’ back.”

When the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities invited the company to create a work to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Latsky says she “brought together a dynamic, diverse group of performers and we did On Display through the city. I loved the stillness in the bustling city as much as I loved the audience’s responses.”

And then on Dec. 3 of that same year, she adds, they performed the installation in the lobby of the United Nations while a colleague performed it in Hobart, Australia with her inclusive group. On Display has since appeared yearly in more than 200 public and private spaces with as many as 650 participants in a single installation.

Watch it this year on Dec. 3 during its 24-hour livestream (click here to access the livestream), and in person on or around that date in various locations. In New York City, you can still catch an in-person performance on Dec. 4 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library from noon to 1 p.m.


Those interested in performing must register by Dec. 2. Because The Boost is posting this so close to the deadline, regular training sessions are over. However, Heidi Latsky Dance has graciously suggested you contact Jamie at Jamie@heidilatskydance.org to discuss training videos and options.

For more information on the installation, click here.

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