Japanese artist Liku Maria Takahashi has been holding exhibitions of paintings that blind people can feel and smell.
The latest exhibition, at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Maris Art Project Asia Tour, showcased paintings in the Maris art style, a version of sand paintings blind people can appreciate.
The main theme of the exhibition is world peace. Most of the works are of national flags and there are also simple objects like flowers and zebras.
This style is created by Takahashi, which is the first painting method in the world to help visually impaired people feel colors and images with their sense of smell and feeling.
In Maris, the brightness of colors is determined by the size of sand grains and specified in the Maris world standard table (invented in 2009 and patented in Japan). The size of sand grains represents the color brightness while the scent of sand shows color.
Sand and rock grains are divided into 10 sizes representing the different level of color brightness in a painting.
The grains are attached to a canvas and soaked in herbal oil, helping blind people envisage the content through the scent. For instance, purple is associated with lavender, and orange with the smell of the orange fruit.
Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, former executive board member of the International Blind Association, said blind people rarely have the opportunity to enjoy and feel the art.
“Many people think that their eyes can’t see so they can’t see pictures, but Takahashi’s series of paintings have helped visually impaired people see like others.”
Takahashi graduated from the Tokyo College of Sculpture and Modeling in 1993. In 2009 she invented the Maris painting style.
She has organized exhibitions in countries like the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Italy, France, and Sweden.