On 3 December 2022 we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and we were thrilled to read how pop icon Katy Perry recently celebrated diversity on stage at her Tokyo festival.
Katy Perry was joined by self-described “bionic pop artist”, Viktoria Modesta, and pianist Rachel Starritt, who was born blind.
Viktoria explained to the BBC how, after having her left leg amputated at the age of 20, she wanted to use technology to enhance her prosthetic leg in creative ways.
She told the BBC: "If we start to challenge what it means to be normal, the concept of disability is challenged also...I never really identified as a person as disabled”. Instead, this inspiring young lady chooses to describe herself as bionic – a hybrid of biological and artificial materials.
Viktoria explained that her highly stylised prosthetic leg has given her chances to explore new opportunities through emerging technologies. Not only has she experimented with prosthetic designs, but she has also explored the Metaverse and zero-gravity environments.
Viktoria performed as the Snow Queen during the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in 2012 wearing a diamond encrusted prosthetic and has become well known subsequently for her highly stylised prosthetics seen in her “Prototype” music video in collaboration with Channel 4. Her prosthetics include a spike, stereo, brass, light and electric spark leg.
Viktoria reported that following an accident at birth she was left with a defect in her left leg and she spent her childhood in a great deal of pain. Reconstructive surgery did not help and therefore she decided to undergo a voluntary below the knee amputation. The operation freed her to pursue her art.
Within our medical negligence team, we act for many individuals who have been injured during birth and have ongoing disabilities, and also clients who have undergone amputation. A large aspect of these claims is ensuring that they are able to adapt to disability with the best prosthetics, aids and equipment available and live a fulfilling life. Viktoria has also had to learn to adapt, and explains that a post-disability world should be where having a prosthetic as part of your lifestyle should be as accepted as wearing glasses.
Joining Viktoria on stage with Katy Perry in this celebration of diversity was also Rachel Starritt, from Bridgend in Wales. Rachel was born blind but fell in love with the piano at the age of 6. She not only learnt to play despite her disability, but also taught herself how to read music in braille.
We agree entirely with Rachel’s comments when she says: “I think being disabled shouldn’t really be a barrier or an obstacle. It’s just a part of the person.”
Rachel has learnt to play the piano by listening to different versions of music and learning the fingerings for each hand. Rachel explained that by performing in Tokyo, she wanted to develop a sense of inspiration.
It is fair to say that Viktoria, Rachel and indeed Katy Perry are making waves and have achieved the aims of celebrating diversity and inspiring disabled people across the world.
We hope that this is a message that will continue to be spread, not just during this awareness campaign, to empower those with any disability, and for there to be a greater appreciation and acceptance of diversity.
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