FROM lines to textures, shapes to spaces, 25 visually-challenged students from the Institute of Blind felt and touched the many contours of art at an exhibition of Modern Indian Art at the Punjab Kala Bhawan on Wednesday.
The workshop organised by the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi and DAG Modern focused on making art accessible to all, including children with special needs.
With the help of an expert Siddhant Shah, DAG runs a programme called Abhaas, an initiative that focuses on providing a sensory experience through the use of audio and visual aids. Tactile aids that are created in conjunction with the few selected art works invite the visitors to touch and smell.
“The idea is to reach a space and point of reference which they can connect to and are also familiar with. So, I made them visualize a temple, its architecture, the parikrama, and then made them touch lines, helping them form shapes, like squares and rectangles, which the artist had created on canvas, to give them a feel of the work and the artist’s inspirations,” said Shah, who took the students through 12 paintings.
Associating the sense of smell and sound to explain the many elements of a work, be it a peacock, a woman wearing gajra, the smell of sweet as well as wild flowers, rough parts of a tree. “They loved feeling the features of a face, and connecting the works with their own life and experiences,” added Shah.
Each student was given an opportunity to feel the specially- prepared tactile art works simulating the original in 3-D for the benefit of the visually impaired. For many, the experience was unique and the two-hour visit a great outing as well.
“The effort is to bring them closer to a world of art indirectly so that they understand and relate to the subject of the work, its many facets, the mind of the artist, his or her technique,”