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Community Spotlight: Rachel Ungerer

Rachel Ungerer, a Bay Area local artist, explores care and sensuality in their artwork, illustrating that being in community with people with disabilities is an experience of mutual care and ample joy.


Rachel, a person with white skin, cropped brown hair and nose ring, wearing a brown flat cap, coat and red leather gloves. Rachel poses and smiles for this selfie

Their piece For My King glows with love through its warm hues and shades of pink. It depicts a couple, with one person sitting on the other person’s lap while shaving their beard. The person sitting on top has a soft smile on their face, while the person on the bottom shows a look of domination, with both subjects clearly finding pleasure in the activity. The subversion in their dynamic powerfully conveys Ungerer’s thesis that individuals receiving care can and should feel empowered, while those giving it can find enjoyment in the process.


 A painting depicting a couple, with one person sitting on the other person’s lap while shaving their beard. The person sitting on top has a soft smile on their face, while the person on the bottom shows a look of domination, with both subjects clearly finding pleasure in the activity.

Ungerer’s ideas about disability justice not only exist in the subjects they paint, but also in the brushstrokes themselves. Experiencing chronic pain in both of their hands, Ungerer changed their art style from fine illustration to expressionist painting to allow for their disability and identity as an artist to coexist. The results are these beautifully depicted, emotional moments between subjects that tug at the hearts of their viewers.


painting of two women, both wheelchair users, tenderly kissing each other as they lean into one another

The nuances of Ungerer’s art also extend to the importance of celebrating queer bodies. “In celebration of desirable disabled queer sexuality, my work confronts the way society desexualizes and infantilizes disabled people. Kink allows us to reclaim the power that society would strip away by choosing who is worthy of it. Disabled queer people are not othered for being different. We are beautiful and sensual as we are, access needs and all,” Ungerer states.


a painting of a curvaceous black woman with large blue-green hair, ample cleavage who sits in a wheelchair, confidently posing

Ungerer currently has a solo art show, titled Sexy As We Are, Access Needs and All, at the Castro location of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The exhibit, which will be up until the end of March, is a disruption of discriminatory views and a celebration of disable queer bodies.



For more of Rachel's work, follow them on Instagram @r_ungerer.



Deema Alharthi is a writer currently exploring the intersection of disability justice and the arts. She is interested in processes of community-building and ways of contributing to them, both digitally and in the real world.

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