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Do you See What I See? Valli Opticians and Outlookers

A collaboration with Valli Opticians and Outlookers Charity exploring Sight Loss through Art

Artist Statement

When we look out at a view or landmark, we often assume that the person stood next to us sees exactly what we see, but colours, perspectives and proportions can have subtle variations, even amongst people with no specific diagnosed eye conditions. Have you ever wondered how a partially sighted person ‘sees’ the world? You may be experiencing your own sight loss or that of someone you know. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but do you see what I see?

This project evolved through collaboration with Outlookers (formally Kirklees Visually Impaired Network) and Valli opticians. I have been interviewing people with varying degrees of sight loss or visual impairment. Alongside this I have carried out my own research including using simulation software and simulation glasses to try to gain a better appreciation of what it feels like to experience sight loss. The conditions explored range from near blindness to prescription corrected long sightedness. What I quickly realised is that everyone’s description of their sight was very unique, even two people with similar diagnosed conditions.I have used these interviews to develop artworks based on my interpretations of sight.  Some paintings try to capture a sense of the everyday life of a partially sighted person, like struggling to see a bus number. Others are based on one sentence which led me to create my own visualisations. The artworks are as unique as the sight condition is to that person.

Some of the people that I have interviewed have enough vision in a certain area of their sight, or corrected with glasses or lenses, to be able to tell me whether my interpretation gives a snapshot into their condition. Others are unable to validate this as their sight is too limited. The focus of the project is to provoke thought and create awareness of what it might be like to be living with sight loss.

It’s been such an honour to work with everyone involved. The project feels like it has a uniqueness and an energy that I hope I can continue to develop beyond this exhibition. I do hope you enjoy studying these artworks. Most are available as a print to order in different sizes, framed or unframed, as well as the original artwork. Please get in touch for more information or follow me on social media.

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