Many may believe sight is a necessity for art, but one Canadian museum takes the steps to break stereotypes about the visually impaired.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, located in Winnipeg, aims to truly question whether vision is the key element of art. With an exhibit called Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists, the museum truly takes art to the next level by empowering the blind in an art element that may not always be thought of as theirs. Corey Timpson, the vice president of the museums art exhibitions and research and design states that the intention of the exhibit is to challenge and question people. The entire purpose is to truly make others think about the differences and definitions of ability and disability. Each of the artists uses different methods to showcase their talents. Artist Pete Eckert utilizes long exposures to make the photos look like paintings with the use of flashlights and dark backdrops. However the exhibit is not that two dimensional, it also highlights pieces that bring up other senses like sound and touch. There are 3D prints with audio descriptions and also raised ink pieces that allow the blind to feel the art and visualize it. Timpson states it’s to make sure the exhibit is for everyone and not just for those to see that being blind does not come in between an artist and their passion.
The exhibit features artists like Tara Miller, who lost her vision in high school. After giving up on photography, she spent years living life separate from something that was once her love. Not until she took up her camera again did she find that though her vision was impaired her other senses still exhilarated her to take pictures. By using her sharp sense of hearing, touch, and even smell she was able to frame and capture her images. The museum has created the perfect platform for Miller and other artists like John Olson, who uses new 3D technology to create touch sensitive paintings, to show the world their skills. It also breaks down the barriers between able-bodied and disabled people and ends stereotypes in the art world. There is also art that incorporates braille, and topographical prints that can be touched.
The entire exhibit becomes a sensory experience while opening peoples’ minds to the truths of the artists around them. Each artist bears a truly inspiring story that is deeply imbedded within their art and the museum provides the best environment for all to see and be inspired as well. The exhibit opens this Saturday in Canada and will continue until September.