Art that's meant to be enjoyed with real feeling

NADIA STADNIK
Last updated 07:35 10/09/2012

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With most art it's a case of look don't touch, but at Pauline Harper's new studio the opposite applies.

Many of the artworks created by the visually impaired artist at the studio, Hands On, are designed to be enjoyed through touch.

"It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the name, Hands on Art.

"Most people paint what they see, but we're painting with what we feel," said Ms Harper, who has just 3 per cent vision.

"Most of our art is touchable which is a huge difference from the average piece of art."

Ms Harper said the goal of the new artspace in the Metro Plaza was to help people with various disabilities express themselves.

"All the students I have at the moment are all doing work focused on their lives. What it's been like living with a vision impairment."

Ms Harper said she had been motivated to set up the studio when classes she ran at the Foundation of the Blind building had outgrown the space available to them.

"We were very limited with what we could do there, that's basically what has pushed me to do this," she said.

The Metro Plaza was the perfect place for Hands on Art.

"The environment here instantly gives you the feeling of a safe environment and I need that for the people to work in. You've got really good bus access to this place too."

Ms Harper hoped to get holiday programmes and children's workshops off the ground at the new location and open a gallery alongside the studio space on October 20, in time for Blind Week.

She said although the main focus was on people with physical disabilities, anyone was welcome to come along and get involved with the fun.

* Nadia Stadnik is a Witt journalism student

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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