Touch, cuddle artwork at accessible exhibition

Published 12:39pm 3 December 2021

Touch, cuddle artwork at accessible exhibition
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Enter a world of furry forests, cosy bathtubs and embraceable artworks made from faux fur, feathers and foam with a new hands-on exhibition showing at the Caboolture Art Gallery.

There will be no signs asking people to stand behind velvet ropes here, with artist Michelle Vine creating a variety of pieces that encourages visitors to touch, play and even cuddle as part of her exhibition titled Michelle Vine: Soft Touch.

Michelle’s love of creating accessible and inclusive artwork that utilises human touch comes from her own lived experiences of sensory difference from being neurodivergent as well as chronic illness.

“When I started exploring my own experiences of disability and chronic illness through making comfortable touchable artworks, I realised working this way could also be inclusive of people with disabilities different to my own,” she explains.

“This inspired me to challenge myself by asking how - could I create an exhibition to be radically inclusive, accessible and full of fun?”

“Access and inclusion of community members with disabilities is not just a nice thing to do. In disability Action Week (December 5-11) it’s important to point out that equal access to and participation in cultural life is a recognised human right.

“Access is an important part of my artistic practice and I hope to inspire others to think also how they can be more inclusive of diverse audiences through art.”

What to expect

Some of the discoveries awaiting visitors include silk threads hanging from the ceiling, soft foam, padding and fluffy furs blanketing the walls and the floor, as well as the affirmation tub, where visitors can sink into a bathtub lined with fur, pop on some headphones and relax.

Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Peter Flannery says the exhibition will “ignite the senses and your imagination”.

“Being able to lose yourself in this wonderful world Michelle Vine has created, where play and touch are highly encouraged, is a real treat,” he says.

Council is investing money into its facilities as part of its commitment to supporting the region’s arts and cultural offerings, as well as providing accessible places for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re investing more than $20 million into the arts, libraries, community facilities and history as part of our 2021/22 budget,” Mayor Flannery says.

“We have lots of accessible infrastructure in place, ensuring everyone who lives in and visits the beautiful Moreton Bay region can enjoy active, healthy lifestyles, including playgrounds, boardwalks, pathways and even beach matting.”

Michelle Vine’s: Soft Touch will run until January 27, 2022.

It is free to attend.

Visit moretonbay.qld.gov.au for more information.

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