Sue Austin started scuba diving after an illness left her restricted to a wheelchair over 16 years ago. Inspired by the experience, she began to develop an entirely new sport: Wheelchair Diving.
She explores the underwater world with the help of plastic fins attached to the footrests of her chair.
The whole project, which started as an art work, is a wonderful metaphor for the freedom that wheelchairs give to their users.
Sue Austin is working to redefine the popular notion of “disability”.
By exploring the Red Sea in her wheelchair…
Check her out in action in the TED video below:
A statement on her website explains, “she aims to find dramatic and powerful ways to re-position disability and Disability Arts as the ‘Hidden Secret’. She argues that this ‘secret’, if explored, valued and then shared, can act to heal the divisions created in the social psyche by cultural dichotomies that define the ‘disabled’ as ‘other’.”
Austin first performed with her underwater wheelchair in Dorset, U.K. in 2012, and has since performed, shown films, and spoken around the world about her art practice.