"In 1968, when I was at St. Martin’s School of Art, I lost my left foot in a traffic accident. The Battle of Britain flying ace and double amputee Douglas Bader visited me in hospital, his stiff-upper-lip war hero masculinity the only disabled role model available to my generation.
This experience informs SPLITSCREEN (2006) , where I ‘sampled’ and juxtaposed two films from two cultures: Nache Mayuri (1984, colour), “Bollywood” bio-pic of Indian classical dancer Sudha Chandran, who like me lost her foot aged 18 in a traffic accident, and who plays herself in the story of her struggle to continue her dancing career; and Reach for the Sky (1956, B&W), the British bio-pic of WW2 fighter pilot Douglas Bader (played by Kenneth More), who struggles to fly again after losing both legs in a flying accident.
In Nache Mayuri's narrative, the nineteen year old amputee Sudha plays herself as both able bodied and disabled, a unique performance in the history of film representations of disabled people. Sudha has continued her performing career to become a major Bombay soap star, and has achieved celebrity throughout India as an evil mother-in-law - with a limp.
In my 2001 piece for Adorn,Equip, the Edwardian photographs' painted backdrop and careful ‘staging’ of the amputees began my interest in representing the role of performance in disabled people’s lives: the performance of ‘normality’.
In SPLITSCREEN both performance and fragmentation are explored through cutting, mixing and juxtaposing sound and image to craft a mirror-image narrative where the two protagonists, male and female, warrior and artist, English and Indian, mirror each other scene for scene."
Colour and B&W / Digital Video
Runtime: 30 mins
Director & editor: Nicola Lane
Sound mix: Louis Morand
Funded by Arts Council England Awards for Individual Artists