Touch-based street art turns up at Stenograffia, tells the tales of sight-impaired pioneers
During the enormous street art festival Stenograffia in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Possible Moscow and non-commercial organization “Belaya Trost” launched the Braille Art project – the first graffiti designed for the blind using special Braille type.
The creators of the project decided to inspire people who are visually impaired with the help of a gallery of unusual street art objects that appeared on the 8th of March Street, 36.
The Braille-Art gallery includes three objects that consist of visual symbols and text written in Braille. Each of the objects talk about the achievements of visually impaired people who have become successful in different areas of life despite the challenges their blindness presents.
Braille-Art gallery tells the story of Mikhail Pozhidaev, a scientist from Tomsk who, having lost his eyesight, invented an operating system for the blind. Other heroes are Ray Charles, who has 17 Grammies, and Marla Runyan, a runner who has beaten a national record for the 5k.
The text written in Braille on each piece of graffiti inspires the reader to believe in their potential and invites them to fulfil it with the help of NGO ‘Belaya Trost’ (an organisation that helps people with disabilities adapt to life in society).
After citizens have experienced the first ever street art festival for the blind, they were offered to help create Braille art by themselves, using a simple and clear format of sticker packs.
Each sticker pack contains stickers with letters written in the Braille type and their Cyrillic analogues. This enabled everyone to create tags for the visually impaired - by combining letters and putting them anywhere in the city. The blind community could also get involved with their own contribution into the street art of Ekaterinburg by creating their own art.
Artyom Filimonov, Creative Director, Possible Group said: “We were approached to create a street art idea for Stenograffia festival. In doing so, we wanted to create something that was accessible to everyone, including those who were visually impaired.
“We were inspired by Mikhail Pozhidaev, who told us about his invention and shared some of the difficulties that he faced after he lost his sight. On a personal level, I have some problems with my eyesight too - my left eye can see only 8% compared to the norm. The constant limitations of this inherent decease has made it easier to relate to the challenges.
“After all, it’s something I fear could happen to me one day. Once we settled on the idea, we started researching. Consulting with the blind, going deeper into details and looking for a solution that could be interesting for both the visually impaired and for ordinary people.”
Mikhail Voitsehovsky, NGO Belaya Trost added:“There are around 7000 visually impaired people, according to official statistics, in the Sverdlovskaya region. There are actually many more and each of them has his or her own perception of the world.
“20 years ago, I had to learn Braille in a month because seeing the world in a different way was becoming difficult. Now there are a lot of assistive technologies but this project is a big and a very welcome step.
“And it’s very valuable that it was possible to attract some attention to this topic, to Braille and art among the blind. And even if they don’t come here, they know that there is something out there for them.”
NGO «Belaya Trost» – Mikhail Voitsehovsky