Hey faithful readers!
When someone say Art for the blind, what pops up first in your mind? Sighted persons explaining verbally what an objet d art looks like? A blind person feeling the objet? Copies of the objet being made into 3D images? Other?
I am sure all those methods are used, especially the 3D reproductions, but I want to tell you about my Art Exploration experiences in Paris. I think it is funny and educational! Enjoy!
19 years ago, I was in Paris! It was my personal reward for achieving a Bachelors degree from university! That BA took me ten years! I was also London, Berlin, Prague, North Italy & Rome! Other than the duration of achieving this goal, I guess you ought to know I was, am, will always be, DeafBlind. So, achieving that BA was nothing short of a small miracle!
While in Paris, my future wife and I spent a long day at the Louvre!
For those who were just borne, or under the age of, say, 10, you should know that the Louvre has an enormous art collection; including paintings, sculptures, et cetera et cetera. A trip to Paris and not stopping at the Louvre is scandalous!
Anyways, my future wife & I walked for hours, looking at hundreds of paintings of masters. Some paintings were humongous, taking up a whole wall, others were normal sized with big frames, a few were wallet sized, with a bigger frame!
Oh we also saw, from a great distance, the Mona Lisa… yawn… big whoop! With hundreds of people vying for a glimpse of this famed painting, and the cabinet it was housed in, it was not worth it for me. We were could not get any closer to the cabinet than 10 feet away. This was due to the crowd of rubber-neckers look at the painting. Even with my white cane, I was not able to get in closer. But, even if I could get right up to the barrier surrounding the cabinet, I would still only see a blob of colours; from the barrier to the cabinet was 2 feet, then another foot of space within the cabinet… What is all the fuss over an image of a half-smiling woman? It is just a painting!
Paintings aside, my lover & I also walked among the many statues found all over the Louvre. These statues are of all different kinds and made out of many different materials! Some marble, concrete… You know… there were no barriers around many of them, and no “do not touch” signs anywhere.
Hey, I just thought of some funny signs they should have posted:
- “Please do not fondle the statues.”
- “Keep your dirty hands off my bust!”
- “You can look, but do not touch!”
And so, I did! I fondled a few columns! My dirty hands were caressing a bust or two…
A Security guard hurried over to us, saying “Arret!” then explaining, first in French, then in English, “…that touching the statues is strictly forbidden because of the … oh you are blind, oui? Oh please continue, go ahead! Adieau!”.
Translation: The security officer rushed to stop me from de-oxidizing these old statues, but upon seeing my white cane, relented and allowed me to continue fondling unperturbed! Was this the protocol for all blind individuals or was the guard sympathetic to blind individuals? Who knows, we did not question her about-face.
I am sure there are more signs and more barriers now! And gloves for blind persons wishing to touch a few busts!
After gaining de facto permission to continue to fondle the statues, I did just that! Continuing for some time, until we got tired of standing up for hours!
A similar thing happened in Rome, but that will be dealt with later.
Thank you for stopping by!
Enjoy your day!