The Braille Project

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 11.27.53 AMPLEASE DO TOUCH!

A collaborative endeavour by Faye Harnest1 & Devon E. Sioui

The Braille Project explores the incidental beauty of a language system not meant to be seen, placing emphasis on texture & touch. The pieces are for the sighted, those with low vision, and those who are blind. One of our main objectives is to push braille out of isolation. These pieces invite those who are unfamiliar with this tactile language system to explore and celebrate it. The works are experimental, often playing with the orientation of braille and using it as a tactile graphic rather than standard text.

Please Do Touch!2 is an exciting series of tactile, mixed-media paintings that audiences are encouraged to explore by touch. Many of the paintings are influenced by the words and actions of Captain Napoleon Bonaparte and Louis Braille, who both played a part in the creation of the braille language system. We were also very struck by Jorge Luis Borges, an author who became blind and could not see the colours red or black. In his essay titled Blindness3, he wrote of having to adjust to sleeping without the comfort of darkness; having instead to sleep in a blue-green mist. Yellow remained with him, often referring to his relationship with the colour as a “friendship”. He lamented the disappearance of what he thought to be the most glorious colour, red. Several of these paintings began with Borges’ words and the colours he both loved and missed, respectively.

This page will continue to be updated as more paintings are completed. Click through on each piece for more information and detail images.

To keep up with exhibition schedules and announcements, please click here or follow us on Twitter @PleaseDoTouch.

1.  FAYE HARNEST is an author and certified braille transcriber. Faye’s visual poetry appears in literary journals such as The Capilano Review, Rampike Magazine, Echolocation Magazine, and The Rusty ToqueShe is the author of the novel Girl Fight (2011) 
2. Please Do Touch! [formerly: Untitled Braille Paintings Project] was one of 34 recipients of the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Projects Grant in December 2013
3. From Seven Nights, Revised Edition, Nightwood Editions, 2009