Artists with OI: Mira Thompson

Ingunn & Mira at Amsterdam conference

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Mira Thompson and I’m a singer.

In what way has OI affected your art?

As much as I want to say it hasn’t, I also know it completely affects the way I look at life in general. Which does not mean every song I write is directly connected to disability or ableism, but I also don’t avoid those subjects. But to me they are as important as writing a beautiful song about heartbreak, to name an original subject. 
I do, however, feel responsible for using my voice (quite literally) to advocate for disability rights. Music can be a powerful way of doing that. I recently released a song that I made with my friend Femke Smit using sounds my power chair makes. The lyrics are meant to be a bit confrontational. I’ve used what I see as some of the thoughtless statements and questions posed to those with visible disabilities. 
I dubbed the lyrics over the wheelchair sounds. Although the lyrics might seem to be a bit cynical, it was important for me to radically ban senti-mental emotions about this subject. My friend Feline Hjermind, who is a video-artist, made a video clip to accompany the song. Interested parties can find it under the title ‘Tiny Shoes’ (Mira Thompson) on YouTube:

What themes do you pursue?

Just about anything that captures my imagination can become a theme for my music. For example I am now working on a song inspired by my own shadow. I found the idea of a shadow of something (or someone) very small taking on large proportions as a shadow. Fascinating!

What role does the artist have in society?

I don’t think I get to decide what role an artist has in society. An artist can fulfill so many roles and functions in society. One of my hopes is to be able to provide a sense of connectedness for people. Although I definitely don’t think art has to be political, I do think that is one of it’s possible functions.
For example, I strongly believe that it is a political act in itself for a woman with a visible disability to perform on stage. 
If my music reaches lots of different people on lots of different levels, then I have succeeded.

What is quality of life for you?

For me, quality of life is being able to keep developing in every aspect of my life. This means not being held back by social and/or physical barriers or restraints. That can range from simple accessibility issues to access to education and openness in all kinds of social situations.

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