Last year I participated in an artist residency programme called And’art in Marrakech. As part of the residency artists were given the opportunity to help facilitate workshops at a Blind School.
Here’s a quick summary of what happened in the workshops written by the organisers of the residency.
The workshops were part of And’Art Marrakech held by Terre Sans Frontière and were based at the University of Law in Marrakech. The idea of doing this project stemmed from trying to break the boundaries between the visually impaired and the sighted. This was realised by bringing the sighted and the visually impaired together in the same space to share their experience of the surrounding environment.
Four visually impaired students were given disposable cameras to document twenty four hours of their everyday life. They were to take a picture by their senses, for example when they heard or smelt something that triggered a memory or idea.
The students made a description of the reasoning behind each photograph by Dictaphone or Braille.
After processing the pictures, a textual annotation was added in Arabic, English and Braille near each picture.
“I felt the warmth coming from a lamp and I am stood under the light while taking a picture of it.”
“I was lost on an empty pave then I took the picture so you can tell me where I was.”
“Picture of five fountains that I used to take pictures of when I was not blind, and now I’m taking a picture of them and I’m blind.”
“I take a picture of the sky because when I’m thinking I look up.”
“I heard a sound that only comes from something that seems to be over the wall but I don’t know what it is.”
“What you can see in my pictures is that I am an introverted person because all the places I took in my pictures are closed.”
Fatima Ezzahra –
“This picture was taken at 11am because I was hearing a lot of noise that showed me that the place was full of tourists and Moroccan people, I heard voices and chants and storytellers and then I felt like if I was drawing a picture in my head of everything I was hearing.”
“This picture was taken at 11.15 am near the jewels shop, I touched some jewels with my hands to see them.”
“I remember, we watched a soccer match and I am sad because my team its losing (Real Madrid).”
Their work was exhibited in Remp’Art Gallery, Gueliz, Marrakech 24 September – 5 October 2010. The Photography workshops for the visually impaired were led and facilitated by Amy Smyth, Saad-Eddine Said and Thea Panter, with much appreciated help from Fouad Said and Salah Bekri in collaboration with the visually impaired students who are members of IDMAJ at Qadi Ayad University (Marrakesh).