Royal College of Art, London
STAR RATING 5/5
Unlike most collections, visitors to this exhibition were
encouraged to touch the art on show, writes Mark Drinkwater. The 60
exhibits, all designed to be appreciated by sighted and blind
people, were entries to a competition launched by new charity
BlindArt, and included a rich mixture of sculptures, textiles,
sound recordings and paintings.
Rosie Musgrave’s “Journeyman” features two figures carved from
limestone with wonderfully tactile contours. “Midnight in a Perfect
World”, a vast painting by Tim Holden making use of bold shapes on
a contrasting background to give the illusion of light emanating
from it, was much admired by both sighted visitors and those with
But it was Liz Munro and Nuala Watt who were this year’s winners
with their life-size print of a blurred figure. Not only did this
image give sighted people a sense of what it is to have a visual
impairment, but on touching the picture visitors discovered a
textured print similar to flock wallpaper.
When we think of art we tend to think of visual art, but these
exhibits, and particularly the winning piece, challenged that view.
By forcing visitors to use a number of senses, artists ensured
visitors interacted and perceived the art in a different way.
BlindArt also made the exhibition as accessible as possible:
sculptures and paintings were displayed at a height suitable for
wheelchair users and the programme information was available in
print, audio and Braille.
There are plans to make the competition an annual event and I look
forward to seeing, hearing and feeling next year’s collection of
Mark Drinkwater is a community worker in Southwark, south