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When braille meets art

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
Media release

When braille meets art

Inspired by his love for his blind partner Julie, Dunedin artist Ron Esplin is a firm believer that people who are blind, deafblind and vision-impaired can still enjoy and appreciate art.

"I noticed that even though Julie couldn't see she was able to visualise a piece of art from its description," says Ron. "But I wanted to add to her experience."

Ron has matched his artistic ability with his exposure to braille and has come up with a mixed media work that can be best described as braille-art.

"Through braille-art, Julie and other blind people can appreciate and independently experience art for themselves through the power of touch," says Ron.

Adds Julie: "When Ron gave me my first braille-art Christmas present I opened it and cried. It was just so special to get something which had so much thought put into it and something which I didn't need to depend on someone else to tell me what it was."

Julie is passionate about braille. Blind since 1997 due to a condition which affected both her retinas, Julie learnt braille so that she could continue to read, work, do the shopping, help her children with their homework – basically participate fully and independently like other New Zealand adults. Julie now works for the RNZFB as their Braille Awareness Consultant.

Ron has donated a piece of braille-art to the Bayleys Charity Art Auction to be held on Friday 3 November. A mixed media work which contains large braille dots and raised tactile letters spelling the word "vision", the braille-art will be going up for auction with works from other local artists to raise money for the RNZFB's Guide Dog Services.

Guide dogs mean freedom, independence, confidence and companionship. The RNZFB's Guide Dog Services receives no government funding and is dependant on support from corporates and the New Zealand public. Bayleys Realty Group is the principal sponsor of Guide Dog Services.


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