Friday, October 15, 2021

Tactile Sand Portraits for Students with Visual Impairments

While the finished project of this sand image may look like it was inspired by street artists and their stencils, we were actually studying photographer, Vik Muniz. Muniz is a Brazilian artist who makes images (often based on master paintings) using non traditional materials such as recyclable items or chocolate syrup or sugar. When we discussed his sugar portraits of children whose parents work on sugar plantations, one of my students was excited about the possibilities.
There were a few challenges however, one, sugar ants are really hard to get rid of once they find your sugar stash, and two, my student has zero vision and couldn't make a value drawing with sugar on black paper from observation. So we started with the same place we've started all month, with photographs of the student. I had traced this student's photo in hot glue for her water color assignment, so she already had a tactile place to start. She used a separate piece of paper to do a crayon rubbing of the hot glue image. I cut out the shapes and lines made by the rubbing. Then she used the stencil, a foam brush and glue to get a flat, even layer of glue onto another piece of paper, in the shape of her profile. She sprinkled with her favorite color (pink) sand, shook off the access and was thrilled to have a tactile self portrait to share with her family.  When it comes to making art history relevant: where there's a will, there's a way.


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