Art is often a domain that is inaccessible to the visually impaired. As a result, this community can feel marginalized and forgotten about. Too often we rely solely on the visitor’s sense of sight to create meaning from a piece of
art. CONTACT aims to bring awareness to the necessity of including the visually
impaired in the art community by creating art that can be enjoyed through
sight and touch.
As a partially blind artist, I am interested in exploring new ways to make art
accessible to those who have sensory impairments, while also breaking down
barriers regarding being able to touch artworks on display. My previous work has dealt with the meaning-making process, including the Rorschach Inkblot test,
and the difference between sight and perceiving. My current work aims to
expand on those themes by activating the viewer’s ability to make sense of art
in new ways by creating pieces that are accessible on a visual and tactile level.
The work will encourage viewers, both sighted and visually impaired, to use their visual and tactile senses in the meaning-making process, engaging with their imaginations and allowing them to experience a different way of
communicating and interacting with art.
Acrylic and encaustic on wood panel, Dura-lar film, gouache, glue dots, grommets, silkscreen prints on Stonehenge Kraft paper and vellum, paper clips, and staples
Alt text: All of the contents of the CONTACT kit are displayed together. This includes a veiled artwork with removable frosted Dura-lar film, blurring the
painting behind. These removeable pieces are small teardrop shapes with Braille words and are scattered on the veil. Also included is a small, square booklet
lying on top of the painting with another small booklet and three sheets beside it. Printed on these sheets is a Braille to English chart, an artist statement and directions for using the kit, and a bio of the artist. The other small, square booklet is a Braille translation of these sheets.
$125 per kit
Alt text: The open accordion book showing three information sheets printed on vellum tucked in a pocket. The other pages have embossed vellum slips with designated spots for the teardrop shapes to stay in. A line is embossed underneath to write out the Braille translation in English text.
Alt text: A small, square Braille booklet included with the accordion book as the translation for the instructions at the beginning of the book.
About Olivia Brouwer
Olivia Brouwer is a Canadian award-winning emerging artist from Hamilton, Ontario. In 2016, she graduated from the Art and Art History joint program, specializing in painting and printmaking, at the University of Toronto Mississauga
and Sheridan College Institute of Technology. Since then, her work has been exhibited in a number of shows across Southern Ontario, including the Blackwood Gallery, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, and the Robert
Kananaj Gallery in collaboration with Emerging Young Artists. As a partially blind artist, Brouwer explores the idea of blindness through her art, melding organic and geometric abstraction with scenes inspired by natural organisms and spiritual teachings relating to vision from both a metaphorical and literal sense. She translates the concept of blindness into a symbol, using it to examine ideas surrounding belief, meaning, clarity, and sight – both physical and spiritual. Her most recent work explores various encounters with art which activate human senses, enabling an inclusive experience for both visually impaired and sighted viewers.
Alt Text: Profile photo. I am a young, Caucasian woman with short, blonde, curly hair, and I'm wearing a black turtleneck. I am looking at the viewer while touching a translucent Dura-lar sculpture that is cut into strips and teardrop shapes, and hung using copper and fishing wire.