Model: Kara Adeola
spastic dyplegia cerebral palsy

My name is Kara Adeola and I was born with spastic dyplegia cerebral palsy. For my photo shoot, it was important for me to pose with and without my walker. In my experience, when using my mobility aid, people stare at me more causing me to feel self conscious. So I wanted to highlight my walker, to change the narrative, and to see it as an extension of me, and an extension of my beauty. The photos without my walker represent how I see myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see my disability like the rest of the world does because this is the only body I know. The uneven hips, the bruised and scarred knees and elbows from countless falls, the pain, the surgery scars, it’s all just me. My photographer Belle was inspired by this and she came up with the idea for my image to be made up of smaller images where we’d do different poses and close ups. I love how it came out because it gives the viewer a beautiful and almost intimate look into myself and the different areas I used to be self conscious about. Lastly, it was vital that my images celebrate my Blackness. The intersectionality of my identities are always at play and impact both how I navigate the world, and how society sees me.

After viewing my images, I hope they connect with individuals like myself who have been made to feel like they aren’t “disabled enough”. I’m here to tell you that you are and that your voice matters. We live in an ableist society that wasn’t made for us, and for things to change, we need to take a chance, and not be afraid to speak about our experiences and talk about the times we’ve been discriminated against. I also hope it connects with the non-disabled, and maybe after viewing the exhibition it can open your eyes to our experiences, and how you can make a difference in the world we live in, because an equitable, inclusive, and accessible society truly benefits us all.

I’d like to leave you with one last thing: Black Disabled Lives Matter


Photographer, UM Student: Belle Fitzpatrick