Lucy Jones' Tom Shakespeare: Intellect, with Wheels acquired by the National Portrait Gallery
Lucy Jones' painting Tom Shakespeare: Intellect, with Wheels, 2017, which depicts social scientist and bioethicist Tom Shakespeare, has been accepted into the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Jones describes Shakespeare as a good friend, “a hero of mine.” This admiration is evident in this full-body portrait, which emanates charisma, neither hiding nor focussing on his disability. Jones explains that her friendship with Shakespeare has been vital to her: “It was extraordinary to be introduced to Tom and his fight to initiate a new social construct of disability awakened subconscious ideas of mine that have helped me situate myself in recent years.”
Throughout her career Jones has often said that she doesn't want to be categorised as a disabled artist but rather "an artist who happens to be disabled." In response to this, Shakespeare states: “While respecting Lucy’s perspective, I want to claim her as a role model for what disabled people can do… I want to say that humanity is diverse, our experiences and physiques and mentalities are diverse, and that this is reflected in our lives, and to a certain extent in our achievements… Someone like Lucy Jones has struggled against the current to become a successful artist, in ways that a privileged non-disabled person who follows a traditional route to fame has never dreamt of. We need to remove the barriers so that more people have a chance of going to art school, of being nurtured, of flourishing and expressing themselves in the mainstream.”