Born in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territory in 1981, Carmen Papalia is an artist who uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, the art institution, and visual culture. His socially engaged practice is an effort to unlearn visual primacy and resist support options that promote ablest concepts of normalcy.
Papalia’s walks, workshops, and interventions are an opportunity to model new standards and practices in the area of accessibility. He approaches the museum as a colonial enterprise that has benefited from a tradition of cultural violence; a platform that contains valuable cultural resources, which is marginalizing by design. His work has been featured at: The Solomon R. Guggenheim museum, New York; the Tate Liverpool, Liverpool; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; the Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana; and Gallery Gachet, Vancouver; among others.
Papalia is the recipient of the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary and the 2013 Wynn Newhouse Award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Master of Fine Arts with a focus in Art & Social Practice from Portland State University.
His current work includes an advocacy platform based on the principles of Open Access (2015) and an accessible mobile work-space and archive that provides a context for programming about accessibility at the institutions that he visits.