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Engaging visually impaired with arts

To make art accessible to the visually impaired and those with reduced mobility, and engage them with arts, curator of Senses 2.0 Siddhant Shah is organising curated walks across all the venues of the ongoing Serendipity Arts Festival in Panaji. NT BUZZ talks to Siddhant to know more about how he is making art accessible


With every passing year, Serendipity Arts Festival is developing new ideas and inviting people from different walks of life to come forth and exhibit their talent. What started as a pilot survey saw successful results as the last year’s festival culminated. This year that survey has sprouted into an initiative led by architect Siddhant Shah from Mumbai. He has curated Senses 2.0 in an attempt to make art more accessible. It is programmed with workshops and walks for the differently-abled, including sensitisation workshops for the general public.

Spread across several venues in and around the city, Siddhant in collaboration with the organisers has strived to make the exhibits accessible to those who are visually impaired and for people with reduced mobility. “The concept of accessibility has been on my mind for quite some time now. Even if you make places accessible it is important to make the art accessible so that the person can know what is going on around him,” says Siddhant who takes children and adults with reduced mobility on walks through the different venues.

The main aim of this program is to make the event, spaces and its artworks more welcoming inclusive to those with special needs such as the hearing impaired, slow learners, learning disabled and autistic. “Specially curated tactile art walks for children of the blind school and special needs school will be organised from December 19 to December 21. We have designed and created tactile maps, Braille books, sign language experts, tactile reproductions of art works on display, tactile and braille equipped signage that are available at the counters across all venues,” says Siddhant. Today, December 19, ChaapChoop, a block printing workshop which incorporates jaali/patterns will be held at Adil Shah Palace from 11 a.m. onwards. “This would be a workshop for students with disabilities. They would enjoy the workshop, creating their own artworks,” says Siddhant.

To spread awareness among the general public about being empathic towards such people, a blindfold photography workshop will be held on December 20 and Hear and Smell to Paint will be held on December 21 at the Adil Shah Palace from 11 a.m. onwards. “For the general public to know how it feels to be without sight, these two activities will foster this idea. This also took place last year and is a great way to sensitise the general public,” says Siddhant.

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