Disabled Barbie Doll

“Break what breaks you.” “Against the pressure to be normal.” “For the right to be disabled or sick.” So reads this ingeniously-designed sticker, affixed to a wall, in Oranienplatz, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.

Photographed on May Day, 2010, the sticker, fresh off of someone’s home printer, was entirely in keeping with the day’s labor-oriented festivities. That is, if you regard the rights of disabled people to be concomitant with the rights of labor.

As an artist, I was most taken by the choice of Barbie, and her recasting as crippled, in this context. Disabled is beautiful, I thought, or at least memorable, in a Cindy Sherman sort of way. The sticker’s design is also very much in keeping with those of anarchist, and otherwise anti-capitalist adhesives, which Berlin is famous for, and which we’re extremely fond of showcasing here, in Souciant.

To change the subject matter, from such time-honored themes as police brutality, and burning SUVs, was a huge relief, as there are other, equally significant struggles for leftists to highlight. As street art, it’s just as relevant as designer political murals, by internationally recognized gallery punks, like Banksy. Sticker art receives less attention, I fear, simply because it’s smaller. Not in my world.

Translation from the German by Charlie Bertsch. Photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit.


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