Al and Amelia, Quiplash
Quiplash describe themselves as queer crip access artists. Amelia and Al are the brains behind the group and have very personal connections to their mission. Amelia and Al are both queer and Amelia is blind. Amelia has a background in theatre and academics, while Al is a visual artist, so the couple brought their passions together to create a space for them and others with accessibility needs. Back in 2019 Amelia wanted to get into drag but found that the industry was not very accessible for the visually impaired. They wanted to address this, so got together with access workers to create their own show with Al working as the producer and Quiplash was born.
The group now has two different strands: the performance strand, which works to make shows more accessible to queer people and those with disabilities, and consultation work in queer and disability awareness training. They currently have 70 active clients all over the world, including in Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Argentina and Germany and have even worked with the Wellcome Collection in London. They are currently struggling to meet demand and are hoping to expand very soon.
Both Amelia and Al love living and working in South Norwood and are excited by the ‘micro-culture’ the area has. They want to see the local community grow, seeing more accessible spaces in Norwood. Part of Quiplash’s mission is to give people more knowledge of the world and how different people experience the world in different ways. They hope the area will regenerate carefully, bringing new businesses to the area without driving up prices which push the locals out.
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.