Festival of Disabled Artists

Photo of women with disabilities performing a traditional dance

The Festival of Disabled Artists has featured amazing performances that spotlight artists with visual impairments, deaf and hard-of-hearing taiko drummers, and wheelchair dancers. The event has been held in several Asian countries since 2006. At the ASEAN Festival of Disabled Artists held in Myanmar in 2014, individuals from 10 countries performed, cheered on by an audience of roughly 6,700 people. Plans call for Festival of Disabled Artists events to be organized in Tokyo and other parts of Japan in cooperation with UNESCO to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Photo of performers waving to the audience

Festival History and Future Plans

2006 Held in Laos/Vietnam
2008 Held in Cambodia
2013-2014 Held in Myanmar
2015 Agreement between UNESCO and The Nippon Foundation signed in December for the holding of Festival of Disabled Artists events in 2020
2017 Asia-Pacific Arts Festival to be held in Singapore
2020 International Festival of Disabled Artists to be held in Japan


The Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), established in 2011, organized the Festival of Disabled Artists in Myanmar. Having young Disabled people from Myanmar manage the event boosted their confidence in their own abilities and spurred them to become more active than ever.