Gordon Peteran, Repaired Prosthetic Sculpture.

Gordo Peteran says, “I think that we can sometimes mistake disability for disadvantage.

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 11.33.09 AMMy grandmother was a “victim” of polio as a young girl. Much later in life she met my grandfather, working in the orthopedic department of the Hospital for Sick Kids.

He developed a clever shoe and brace combination that allowed her to walk with only a slight reliance on a cane.

That combination of prosthetics is what my submission for Disrupting/Undoing addresses.

Leaving her cane behind one day at our family cottage, my father carried his mother down to the beach and gently set her upon a blanket beside my mother, sisters and I under a huge umbrella. She was a tiny but formidable lady. I watched as she unbuckled and removed her shoes and leg brace placing it beside her in the warm summer sand. At that moment, from my perspective, all of her power evaporated into the heat, leaving her curiously vulnerable.

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To a child, her leg looked strangely normal, and therefore weak. With her cane gone, she was unable to point and direct with it as she had so often done. She appeared truly disabled, unable to conduct the authoritative narrative that normally empowered her at every family event.

It was that afternoon that I witnessed the power of a reinforced impediment , and have since learned to look for it in each of us. While it may not always be visible, I suspect each of us is overcoming a perceived inadequacy . . .that results in a strength. 

Recently I found the remains of a cane and began to fortify it as best I could focusing on the weakest points.

I would like to welcome visitors to handle this object in order to understand its makeup and configuration.

Repaired Prosthetic begins with a found object. The sculpture is comprised of the fragile and weathered remains of a classic wooden cane. Its form consists of a straight vertical section that was steam bent at one time, into a hook to receive one’s hand. It appears to have been made out of a tree branch, as there is evidence of small knots throughout. Only a small amount of a broken handle remained and the shaft was split and quite weak. I re-enforced the curved handle with a matching piece of curved brass.

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However, this was not enough and transferred pressure toward another weak spot further along the cane. I then applied a curved piece of steel onto the curved brass, previously attached to the original handle and continued this steel support further down the shaft. Still feeling that it’s length was too fragile to bear my own weight I decided to attach a piece of aluminum “L” channel over most of the length of the straight shaft tying it on with many layers of wrapped string at the cracked section near the base and running a bolt to hold it together through at the knot farther up. It was not until I had restored its functional ability did I notice the resulting aesthetic.”


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