Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Installation and Illustration
for the One Man's Vision Exibition

Following on from my previous post about the One Man's Vision exhibition and my involvement with the project - I have now finished my illustration to be framed and showcased at the exhibiton and have helped during some of the installation process at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. I wanted to share my latest piece and experiences with you.

Elephant in the Room

My artwork, created specially for One Man's Vision, is based on an audio file I listened to regarding the social perceptions of and reactions to blind and visually impaired people.

Featured in the background are many logos and symbols associated with myself; disabled, hard of hearing, sight impaired and a long cane user. But to me personally, they are exactly that. In the background. While they are a visual representation of the disabilities that I have, they are not me - the person in the middle of the illustration. A young, confident, fashionable and intelligent young woman with many hobbies, talents and opinions.

When the general public see these logos, they assume that they are attached to older people and are often surprised when they see me in shopping centres or cinemas, just getting on with my life and going about things as any other person would. I've often received comments such as, "But you're so young! Why has this happened to you?" and "You look so normal!". Other times, I receive the opposite reaction - it's an elephant in the room and I can tell that someone desperately wants to talk about my visual impairment but finds it hard to do so incase they offend me by choosing the wrong words. Scope's "End the Awkward" campaign resonated deeply with me was also a source of inspiration behind my illustration.

I used contrasting colours on the top and bottom panels with differing gradients to represent my contrasting experiences with the general public and also the stark contrast of the symbols against the real person associated with them. It took nearly a month to complete the piece and it was created using my favourite mediums of a black fine liner and coloured pencils.

As well as creating an illustration, I also helped with the exhibition itself; creating Braille labels which will be installed to allow all visitors to access the printed information, helping to type up some of the labels to be printed off and placed next to objects inside cases, and creating an object list to keep track of all of the items on display. I had a really interesting insight into how exhibitions are installed and had a fantastic time with the team. A big thank you to Carrie and Laura for having me!

The One Man's Vision exhibition will be opened to the public at Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday, 20th September. You can visit the One Man's Vision website here and can read more about the exhibition at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery website here.