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Sight loss charity Outlookers (see website) has partnered with Wakefield-based artist Ruth Fones to launch a new exhibition to showcase her latest collection, which looks at how those with visual impairments view the world.

The ‘Do you see what I see?’ collection, will be exhibited at Valli Opticians in Hebden Bridge, with the opening event taking place on the 9th September from 19:00-21:00. The exhibition will be open to the public and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase pieces from the collection, with 15% of any exhibition sales being donated to the charity.

Ruth Fones is an artist based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Her work explores semi-abstract landscapes through colour, perspective and proportion to create original artworks. Originally from Sunderland, she studied BSc Textile Design in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, specialising in knitted textiles and graduating with a first-class honours degree in 2002.

The exhibition was borne out of a collaboration between Outlookers and Valli Opticians, of which founder Moin Valli is also Vice-Chair of the charity.

Ruth worked with service users to interview people with varying degrees of sight loss or visual impairment. Alongside this, the artist also carried out her own research, including using simulation software and simulation glasses to try to gain a better appreciation of what it feels like to experience sight loss.

Ruth said: “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”.

Some of the key pieces from the collection include ‘Lace Wall’, ‘Showers over Ullswater’ and ‘Lytham St Annes’.
Moin Valli, Vice-Chair of Outlookers and Founder of Valli Opticians 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.

“We would love to see as many local residents as possible at the exhibition, not only to see the amazing artwork on display but to find out more about the work that Outlookers and its volunteers do for the local community throughout Kirklees”.

Most of the exhibition pieces are available as a print to order in different sizes, framed or unframed, as well as the original artwork. Please ask in the Valli Opticians Hebden Bridge practice for more information or visit www.facebook.com/ruthfonesart.

New art exhibition highlights the world as seen through visual impairment
1 Bridge Gate, Hebden Bridge HX7 8EX, UK
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