Media Release: Unique sensory artwork unveiled at Open Day


A LEADING North-east charity unveiled unique artwork at its recent Open Day.

North East Sensory Services (NESS), which has offices in Aberdeen, Dundee and Elgin, hosted an Open Day at its John Street Centre in Aberdeen on Saturday 4 June from 10am to 1pm.

At the event, Councillor Len Ironside, CBE, unveil an Aberdeen City Mural, which has been produced by blind and deaf people aged from under 10 to over 80.

NESS, which has been working with people in Aberdeen since 1879, supports over 4,500 people in the North-east who are living with a significant sight or hearing loss. The charity provides life-enhancing services to people of all ages, from babies to grandparents.

The new artwork, which is situated in the popular NESS café, focuses on a depiction of Aberdeen’s iconic buildings, harbour and parks, as the blind and deaf artists themselves experience them.

To maximise the sensory nature of the project a range of techniques and media has been used, from painting and collages to mosaics and fabrics.

NESS worked closely with local artist Catherine Smith to design and produce the artwork. Catherine, a Gray’s School of Art graduate, helped the group tackle intricate details of Aberdeen landmarks.

She said: “The team consisted of children, teenagers and adults and they worked together using collage and painting to form iconic buildings including Marischal College and the Music Hall.

“It was a great experience working with people who had rediscovered their talents and learned new techniques. I saw a young lad find interesting ways of drawing dolphins and an elderly gentlemen help his friend take his work in new directions.”

Councillor Len Ironside CBE said: “The artwork is an incredible achievement, and is a unique insight into our city. At NESS it is more about what you can do than what you cannot and the mural proves that commitment.”

Graham Findlay, chief executive for NESS, said: “When we decided to redecorate the café and activity area, we felt it was a fantastic opportunity for the people we support to demonstrate their skills.

“The range of materials used and techniques employed enabled people to get involved no matter what skills or abilities they have. The artists, who all have either a hearing or visual loss, have enjoyed the visual and tactile nature of the project.

“We are delighted with the mural – it clearly demonstrates the skills and talents of people with a sensory loss.

“Both the artists and the people who experience the new artwork will gain a greater understanding as to how Aberdeen is experienced by people with hearing or sight difficulties. It is a unique depiction of our city and we are proud to share it with the people of Aberdeen.”


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