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New art collection explores experiences of visual impairment

Huddersfield sight-loss charity Outlookers has partnered with a local artist to launch a new exhibition themed around the way that those with visual impairments see the world.

The “Do You See What I See?” collection will be exhibited at Valli Opticians in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and will be open to the public until Christmas. QR codes displayed beside each artwork will enable visitors with visual impairments to listen to audio descriptions of each image.

Ruth Fones is an artist whose work explores semi-abstract landscapes through colour, perspective and proportion.

To help her create the artworks in “Do You See What I See?”, Ruth interviewed service users of Outlookers who have varying degrees of visual impairment. Ruth also carried out research including using simulation glasses and software to try and gain a better understanding of how it feels to experience sight loss.

Artist Ruth Fones commented:

I have used the interviews with Outlookers service users to develop artwork based on my interpretations of sight. Some paintings try to capture a sense of the everyday life of a partially sighted person, like struggling to see a bus number. Others are based on one sentence which led me to create my own visualisations. The artworks are as unique as the sight condition is to that person.

Some of the people that I have interviewed have enough vision in a certain area of their sight or corrected with glasses or lenses, to be able to tell me whether my interpretation gives a snapshot into their condition. Others are unable to validate this as their sight is too limited. The focus of the project is to provoke thought and create awareness of what it might be like to be living with sight loss.

It’s been such an honour to work with everyone involved. The project feels like it has a uniqueness and an energy that I hope I can continue to develop beyond this exhibition.

Moin Valli, Vice Chair of Outlookers, said:

We are thrilled to have worked alongside Ruth to develop and host the ‘Do You See What I See?’ collection. Creating artwork that highlights the impact of sight loss on users is so important, and we are so grateful to Ruth for creating such meaningful pieces, as well as kindly donating a portion of the sales to the charity.

Artworks from the collection are available to purchase with 15 per cent of proceeds donated to Outlookers. As well as the original artworks, print copies in various sizes are available by print-to-order.

For further information, please contact Valli Opticians Hebden Bridge or visit Ruth Fones’ FaceBook Page: