1-884167-64-0 / 978-1-884167-64-5 $35 Trade Cloth, 8.5 x 12” 80 pages 44 full-color and black & white photographs 4500 print run Umbrage Editions April 2007 Buy Now at Amazon

Divided Portraits: Identity and Disability
By Hilary Cooper
Introduction by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, founder of Very Special Arts







To change the perception of disabilities requires new images and ideas of disability, nurturing a truly modern view of disabilities as a diversity issue—even a human rights issue, rather than solely a health issue. To help create this new face of disabilities, Umbrage Editions is coordinating a unique book and art exhibit, Divided Portraits. These beautiful and inspiring portraits by New York-based portraitist and painter Hilary Cooper present dramatic images of individuals with disabilities. These pictures confound the traditional view of the disabled, showing grace, beauty, strength, and resolve—words not usually associated with disabilities. These transformative images affect viewers and challenge assumptions.

Hilary Cooper found herself in a wheelchair after a serious fall, and through that life-changing experience, began this series. An intimate and personal investigation into the nature of identity as it relates to portraiture and individuation, the works as a whole inquire to what extent we are judged by context. More specifically the series ask to what extent a wheelchair is a uniform. The portraits are painted in two parts - dyptychs, the head in one and the body and wheelchair (or crutches or prostheses) in the other, and by separating the head from the rest, the viewer`s preconceptions of the subject’s identity are challenged.