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This free festival is championing the work of deaf and disabled artists

By Alice Savile

Liberty festival is inviting you to step into someone else’s brain this weekend. Specifically, the brain of multidisciplinary artist Nwando Ebizie, who has a rare neurological disorder called visual snow syndrome that floods her vision with flickering static. It’s the spark behind her immersive exhibition ‘Distorted Constellations’, which is full of reality-bending holograms and icy Afrofuturist sounds she’s perfected as her after-dark alter ego, pop star Lady Vendredi.

Liberty is a two-day free festival where deaf and disabled artists take over venues across Waltham Forest. And there’s a party vibe running through the line-up. Deaf Rave is a Saturday night out that’s full of sign-language rap by performers including hip hop star Signkid. They’ll carve words into the air with a fluency that you’ll appreciate way more if you go to the festival’s free British Sign Language (BSL) taster workshop first.

There are more visuals on offer at two dance performances that showcase the power and potential of disabled bodies. Zimbabwean dancer Shyne Phiri’s career was cut short by a spinal injury; in ‘Outside In’, he explores ideas of finding comfort in nature in an installation surrounded by projections of Walthamstow’s green spaces. In Candoco’s ‘You and I Know’, two disabled dancers perform a moving duet about what it’s like to fall in love, over and over again.

The line-up also includes: documentary ‘The Unlimited House of Krip’, which follows a voguing crew of deaf performers; the magical, bouncy-inflatable, multisensory playground Arboria Luminarium; and ‘Instagramming the Apocalypse’, Byron Vincent’s performance about living with an anxiety disorder in a political moment where there’s an awful lot to be anxious about. And if you want to get political, stretch your brain with some powerful, hopeful truths about disabled people’s lives at Touretteshero’s ‘Knowledge Exchange’, a podcast recording where disabled artists and activists tell you about work that’s trying to change the world. 
Liberty takes place at various venues in Waltham Forest Fri Nov 22-Sun Nov 24. Entry is free. Find out more at

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