3arts at UIC fellow Reveca Torres speaks about her multi-faceted arts practice focused on accurate representations of those living with disabilities from her perspective as an art maker, community organizer, and film festival director.
This artist talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today which explores how disabled artists and designers in Chicago were integral to the development of a local and national disability rights movement, creating radical change for more than one fifth of the US population.
Reveca Torres was injured and paralyzed in a car accident at the age of 13. After completing degrees in Fashion Design and Theatre Arts, Reveca worked as a costume designer and simultaneously worked with various organizations doing disability work in the realms of health & fitness, transitioning, recreation, education and peer support. She started a nonprofit called Backbones in 2009 after realizing that years of interaction and friendship with others living with spinal injuries (SCI) had made a significant impact in her self-image, confidence and drive to succeed. Reveca wanted to ensure that others, especially those newly injured, had access to resources, information, and the same type of peer support she had. She has completed two Creative Access residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Santa Fe Art Institute. Reveca is the director of ReelAbilities Film Festival Chicago and has curated touring photography and art exhibitions that showcase the work of people with disabilities and bring awareness to disability rights. Reveca uses painting, illustration, photography, film, movement and other media as a form of expression and a tool for advocacy and social justice.