Today marks the launch of Tactile: 12 Concealed Sculptures, an art exhibition with the aim of involving visually impaired individuals on an equal level with the rest of the community.
The exhibition, which is being held as part of the Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture Programme in collaboration with Valletta Design Cluster and the EU Japan Fest Japan Committee, was launched today at the University of Malta Valletta Campus, where it will remain open to the public until the 4th of November.
Tactile is created and curated by Jesmond Vassallo, with the participation of artists Omura Shunji, Kunie Fujiyoshi, Takashi Yukawa (Japan), Claire Fontana (France), Adriano Ciarla (Italy), Raymond Azzopardi, Joseph Chetcuti, Jonathan Galea, Noel Galea Bason, Paul Scerri, John Vassallo and Jesmond Vassallo himself (Malta).
The exhibition brings together 12 sculptures from Maltese, French, Italian and Japanese sculptors within a space devoid of light. Each sculpture is concealed from the naked eye, leaving visitors no other option than to interact with it using their sense of touch, thus questioning preconceived notions of the ‘normal’ process of perceiving visual art.
Visitors will be asked to wear the eye mask provided while inside the exhibition space. As they move from one sculpture to the next, visitors will be able to use their fingers to feel descriptions of each artwork in Braille. This action will in turn trigger an audio recording which corresponds to the Braille reading. The artworks can only be viewed in photographic form in an exhibition catalogue, which will become available after the closing of the exhibition.
This exhibition intends to bridge the gap between the visually impaired and the sighted, by allowing both to interact with art through a common sensory experience. Tactile sets out to reveal to those deprived of sight a world that, by its very visual nature, typically excludes them from engaging with it. It also hopes to act as an ‘eye-opener’ for the general public who is being involved in the same act of perceiving and interacting with sculpture through touch as those who are visually impaired.
Tactile: 12 Concealed Sculptures is being held at the University of Malta Valletta Campus between the 5th October and 4th November 2018. It is open to visitors from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm; Saturdays from 10am till 2pm; and Sunday 4th November (last day of exhibition) from 10am till 2pm. The last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
For more information about the exhibition, visit tactileproject.com.