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The 8th Touch Art Festival receives the "Award for Arts Promotion and Education".

"It is often said that everyone can participate in the arts. Yet, does ‘everyone’ exclude certain groups?" Walking into a completely white art space, we appreciate artworks by vision outside the "do not touch" borderline. But what about senses beyond sight? How can the visually impaired participate in art activities?

As early as 2013, the Centre for Community Cultural Development (CCCD) has been organizing the "Hong Kong Touch Art Festival", promoting art creation and appreciation through other senses for both visually impaired people and the general public. This year, we are honored to have received the "Award for Arts Promotion and Education" from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, as a recognition of our achievements in promoting and developing touch art over the years.

Based on the experience of the previous seven festivals, the 8th Touch Art Festival took a step forward by introducing different art mediums, including new poetry, sound design, installation art, and even conceptual art, which demonstrated the bold creations of visually impaired artists. Last year, we invited Wong Ka Ying (KY) as our guest curator. KY pointed out that various social impressions invisibly hindered visually impaired people, misleading them that they can only create artworks inside the touchable area. However, they actually possess unique and powerful sensing abilities and creativity, and have no need to conform to traditional artistic logic. Their works do not have to be tangible, nor do they have to be "spectacular."

Not only "touching" but also "moving"

Throughout last year's art festival, we encountered the once-in-a-century pandemic. Though we struggled to adapt, it undoubtedly disrupted our lives and restricted physical contact. Even so-called “able” people seemed to lose their ability to move, visually impaired people should have suffered even more. When people were struggling to settle daily challenges before talking about any creation, visually impaired artists told us the opposite: "Get up! Do something! We all can do it, what's your excuse?" As such, they decided to create art on the topic of "daily life" amidst non-daily circumstances. Visually impaired artists urged to create. They believed they have the right to express themselves and connect with others through their creations. This was the purest desire, neither for fame, neither for profit, and neither for praise, but for their own voice to be heard, as a way to “touch" people around, to "touch" the world.

The 8th Touch Art Festival was divided into three stages: "Every Day", "Every Month," and "Every Year," showcasing the outcomes of visually impaired artists and cross-disciplinary accessible artists learning from one another and exploring experiments. This year, the 9th Touch Art Festival takes the theme of "Wandering into Touch", stepping out from our base of Shek Kip Mei to investigate and learn in various art and cultural spaces and the final exhibition will be held at the Oil Street Art Space during September. We believe that the group of touch artists has accumulated enough experience, confidence, and ability and will actively strive for more recognition in the art field in the future. Our curatorial team hopes that the art festival can be expanded and exhibited in large-scale art museums in the future so that more public can be reached and touch art can be promoted further, and wider.

19 June, 2023

Photo 1: (from left to right) Chairperson Dr. Chan Yin Lun , Project Officer Ms. Ma Wing Man, Representative of visually impaired artists Mr. Cheung Kai Fu, Guest Curator Ms. Wong Ka Ying, Chief Executive Mr. Mok Chiu Yu, taken on 17 June, 2023 during the award ceremony.

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