Through tactile art Antardrashti explores sensitivity in art


The life experience of specially-abled is different than others, ‘An Eye Within – Antardrashti’ art show explores this perception through tactile art. The show is curated by architect Siddhant Shah, who specializes in bridging gaps between art, heritage & disability through designs.
The exhibition that happened between December 14-16,2018 at 079 Stories is a collaborative effort of curator & visualiser Niharika Shah, Architect-developer Nitesh Shah and Interior Designer Sameer Shah

tactile art at Antardrishti art show
A visitor experiencing tactile art at Antardrishti art show

When architect Siddhant Shah visited a tactile Museum in Greece, he experienced the presence of everything around him with his sense of touch and realised the dire need of ‘experience based prototypes’ in India. He says “that activity sensitised me towards my partially sighted mother’s condition, who struggled every day due to lack of accessibility at surrounding places like all the visually challenged people.” Eventually, the young architect was inspired to initiate the ‘Access for all’ project, where he started consulting spaces like museums, galleries and heritage places to make their premises more accessible for visually impaired people and also sensitise ordinary people about the challenges of being visually impaired.

tactile art
Visually challenged children from age of 15 to 17 years used mix media to create these paintings

The 28-year-old architect has earlier published first large texted museum Braille based book filled with tactile imagery. He is the curator for the tactile art show titled titled An Eye Within – ‘Antardrashti’ at 079 Stories in Ahmedabad. The show is hosting around ten beautiful tactile artworks created by visually challenged artists using mix media on canvas. It was delightful to view lovely landscapes and contrasting geometric forms as well as figures emerge from the hands of the one’s who are unable to ‘see’. The organisers encouraged the visitors to experience the art with a blindfold, that made the experience much more intimate. The visually challenged and specially abled perceive the world differently and this was one opportunity to view the world through their perception. Art curator and visualiser Niharika Shah, who was one of the organiser shared with us “It is not only an opportunity for abled people to get into the shoes of their visually impaired folks and experience their life firsthand, but it also helps people experience visual art beyond the usual sense of sight.”

Art Workshop, Architect Siddhant Shah, 079 Stories
Workshop conducted by Architect Siddhant Shah at 079 Stories during the Antardrishti art show

The three-day event opened with a mesmerising Sufi-Indie-Electronic music performance by  Kanishk Seth Trio on the windy evening of December 14, 2018, the exhibition has been brought up by Invent Art in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Ahmedabad Book Club. The performance included compositions of 13th century Sufi musician Amir Khusro as well as original songs of Seth. Antardrishti received immense appreciations from the audience for its unique idea and aesthetics. The experiential flavour was enhanced when Siddhant Shah, himself came up to delve into an interactive workshop, on December 15 where he helped physically challenged children to create tactile art and learn more about it at the venue.

Antardrishti art show
Art work on display at Antardrishti art show

The participants who have created these vivid artworks are aged between 15 to 17 years and have never been formally trained into paintings or arts. The art initiative was supported by the Lions Club International. We wish to see many such initiatives in the city that help to take art into people’s lives in newer ways.

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