Disabled journo sees lookalike art earn big bucks

Chris Gaynor  

Disabled American journalist, Helen Smith was shocked when a life size marble sculpture of her naked body was sold at auction for a whopping $84,000.

Smith, who works as a motoring correspondent for the charity Disability Now, had her limbs partially amputated after contracting meningitis. Her sculpture was sold at auctioneers, Sothebys in New York.

She said: 'Who's bought me? I can't think of who'd want to buy it. I wish I was getting a cut.' British artist Marc Quinn, who sculpted the marble   lookalike figure of the hack made eight other sculptures all of people with physical disabilities.

Another of Quinn's naked statues, of a pregnant Alison Lapper, has been erected on a plinth in London's Trafalgar Square, a symbol of the capital's solidarity with disabled people. Lapper is also a British born disabled artist. She was born with shortened legs and no arms. The medical condition is called Phocomelia. The disease can be genetically transmitted or may occur sporadically.

It is described as limb deficiencies and can occur in any part of the body. Quinn said: 'I made the sculptures because disabled people are 'invisible culturally, in art history. I wanted to celebrate them and use the medium in its original way as well.'

All of Quinn's subjects who posed for the sculptures were treated to an all expenses paid trip to Milan, in Italy, where the sittings were held for a day.