Tactile mural introduced in Hackney in support of the deafblind community

The mural on the Shoreditch Art Wall. Pic: DeafBlind UK

A mural featuring three nature landscape pieces made with strings that imitate patterns to help deafblind people envision art was unveiled on Great Eastern Street in Hackney.

The mural was produced in support of Deafblind UK, a national charity supporting people with sight and hearing loss.

The street art piece, titled “What would you miss?”, is located on the Shoreditch Art Wall, an iconic Victorian wall that is now used by both local and international artists as a platform for collaborations with various charities.

It features three distinct landscapes that deafblind people have said to have longed for: a sandy beach, a bright sunrise and the sights and sounds of a woodland walk.

The project was created in collaboration with Global Street Art as part of Deafblind UK’s media campaign that encourages members of the public to think of the impact of hearing and sight loss on everyday life. The space was provided by The Stage, a £750 million mixed-use property development in Shoreditch that chose to preserve the wall as part of Shoreditch’s history.

CEO of DeafBlind UK, Steve Conway, told Eastlondonlines: “Global Street Art agency was looking for a charity to work with, and we are always looking for opportunities to make the world more accessible for those with sight and hearing loss so it was the perfect fit!”

“We were heavily involved in the creation of the mural, from concept through to production.”

Global Street Art consulted us about relevant materials to use to make it truly tactile and both parties worked together to come up with the design,” he added.

The mural was created by Perspicere, a London-based artist that specialises in using string to produce his artwork, all the while creating different shapes and patterns by stretching strings across a surface.

Each of the three scenes that are featured on the mural were carefully designed to present a particular part of nature in a way that would allow those affected by both hearing and sight loss to appreciate it.

Through the sense of touch, deafblind people will have the opportunity to experience the mural with the help of the strings that were purposefully installed in a pattern that imitated sunrays, trees, and branches of a forest.

Artist working on the mural. Pic: Deafblind UK

Altogether, the installation of the artwork took over five days to put together.

Conway told Eastlondonlines: “Our Chairman, Bob, who is deafblind, visited the mural last Wednesday. He really enjoyed interacting with it, in particular, the starfish on the beach scene!

“We are touched to have been invited to take part in this project. Deafblindness affects so many people but is often overlooked or under recognised. It also gives a powerful message to those who don’t know about or haven’t considered the effects of sight and hearing loss.”

Deafblindness is a growing issue within the UK. With projections estimating that by 2030 the number of deafblind people could rise up to 600,000, DeafBlind UK has fought to raise awareness of the rare condition and to support those that it affects.

Conway said he was delighted with the finished outcome.

He went on: “It strikes the perfect balance between creating something accessible for people who are deafblind to enjoy, and letting more people know about deafblindness.”

The artwork will remain on the Shoreditch Art Wall until June 7. Please visit their website for more information.

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