Sir Bert Massie CBE
Former Chair of the Disability Rights Commission and the new Commissioner for Compact.
canvas, 30″ x 36″, 2011
Sir Bert Massie has spent most of his adult life
promoting equality and the human rights of disabled people. From 2000 to 2007
he was Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, during which time the
rights of disabled people were strengthened through legislation and
groundbreaking legal cases. Prior to this
he was the chief executive of The Royal Association for Disability and
Rehabilitation and was instrumental in ensuring that Parliament passed the
Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
He is a trustee of a number of charities including
Motability and is a governor of Liverpool John Moores University. He was a
founding Commissioner on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has his
own consultancy business, Bert Massie Ltd. He also chairs the internet job
search company BeMyNextJob plc. He was appointed a CBE in 2000 and granted a
knighthood in 2007.
“Sitting for Tanya is an experience. There is no stress in the sitting and movement is allowed, but
having everything one says recorded at the same time was a novel experience.
Tanya probes away looking for nuggets of wisdom to enable her to get beneath
the skin of the sitter. Did she succeed? Only she knows.
I was interested in the result. Is that me? Do I approve? On what basis
should I judge? Best not to judge but let be. Then the public arrived: some to
talk and stay out of the cold, others to draw – and what interesting
pictures resulted. All the drawings were clearly me, but all very
different. Maybe there are lots of me’s! What I did find surprising is
that I would happily have bought some of the pictures because they presented me
in a way that I have not seen before. Some drawings were basic but others
displayed great skill and insight. Some stressed the wheelchair but most did
not. Maybe the disabled model is becoming just the model. That’s the power of