Excerpt from an article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled “A legless artist documents the world in 32,000 stares“:
A 3-foot-1-inch tall man with no legs propelling himself along by his hands on a skateboard tends to warrant a fair share of attention.
Sometimes they ask questions. Sometimes they make up stories on their own.
Montana State University film student Kevin Connolly relates a story: In a Bozeman grocery store, a young girl the same height as him asked, “Why are you on a skateboard?” Mr. Connolly replied, “Because I have no legs.”
“She just stared at me and had the best question I’ve ever gotten,” he says. “‘Is it a trick?'”
Connolly assures that it is no trick. He was born without legs.
His online exhibition is interesting in itself, but a great way into a discussion with Young People about appearance & perception, disability, or even the concept of ‘story’:
1 year ago I was asked by a little boy in Christchurch, New Zealand if I had been eaten by a shark.
2 months ago I was asked by an elderly woman in Sighisoara, Romania if I had lost my legs in a car accident.
6 weeks ago I was asked by a bar patron in Helena, Montana if I still wore my dog tags from Iraq.
Everyone tries to create a story in their heads to explain the things that baffle them.
I love his counter-cultural approach to getting around too:
Connolly rarely uses his wheelchair, preferring his skateboard. And a pair of jeans-clad prosthetic legs stand in his apartment as a party novelty, unused since age 12.
“People are wanting effectively to put you in stilts,” he says. “Why?”
Connolly feels he’s just as able-bodied as anyone.”