Amanda Cachia

Amanda Cachia August 2012

Amanda Cachia is an independent curator from Sydney, Australia and is currently completing her PhD in ArtHistory, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, SanDiego. Her dissertation will focus on the intersection of disability andcontemporary art. She is the 2014 recipient of the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies, issued by the Society for Disability Studies (SDS). Cachia completed her second Masters degree in Visual & Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco in 2012, and received her first Masters in Creative Curating fromGoldsmiths College, University of London in 2001. Cachia held the position Director/Curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery inRegina, Saskatchewan, Canada from 2007-2010, and has curated approximately 30exhibitions over the last ten years in various citiesacross the USA, England, Australia and Canada. She is currently co-curating the touring iteration of Art of the Lived Experiment with Aaron Williamson for DisArt Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan (April 10 – July 31, 2015), originally commissioned by DaDaFest International 2014 and hosted by the Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK. Her critical writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogues and art journals including Canadian Art, Art Monthly Australia and On Curating, and peer-reviewed academic journals such as Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Museums and Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse and The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal. Forthcoming publications include articles in The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies and in an edited volume on art history and disability studies to be published by Ashgate Publishing Co.UK. She has lectured and participated in numerous international and national conferences and related events within the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and the Gulf, and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant and Canada Council for the Arts. Cachia is a dwarf activist and has been the Chair of the Dwarf ArtistsCoalition for the Little People of America (LPA) since 2007. She also serves on the College Art Association’s (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices (2014-2017). For more information, visit

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Photo Credit for Blind Field Shuttle images: Jordan Reznick

About Amanda Cachia’s Thesis Project

Amanda Cachia

What Can a Body Do? Inscribing and Adjusting a Disabled Experience in Contemporary Art

The contemporary artists Laura Swanson and Corban Walker challenge dominant cultural perceptions of scale, size, and proportion as they visually inscribe their sculptures with their experience of dwarfism. The artists move away from problematic figures such as the midget or the freak as portrayed within historical and contemporary Western visual discourses. Their complex, embodied forms adjust and destabilize reductive representations of the disabled body. Complex embodiment offers layers of inquiry so that categories of difference, identity, and disadvantage can no longer be essentialized, thus giving disabled artists greater knowledge and power over their own bodies. The theories of the body without organs by Deleuze and Guattari (1980) and the anthropological imagination by Mieke Bal (2010) assist in understanding Swanson and Walker’s work and provide an opportunity to reconceptualize assumptions and practices of disabled representation. Disability must be inscribed and adjusted as an essential aspect of human diversity rather than a pathological aberration within contemporary art.

Watch Symposium Presentation

Read Sightlines Article