A new way to experience art: Sense of self

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The art event “Sense of Self” is about accessible art and disability studies, and was held at Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

This art event unites MSU students’ literature and art class works, focusing on art accessibility across the visual disability spectrum. Visitors are encouraged to use all different senses to enjoy and interact with the artworks.



Vanessa Xie

Peiyu Chen and his art work.


Peiyu Chen, Artist

“This project was created by many different materials including fabric, wood and canvas.  I want to show a story about a person who realized that he was losing all his memories and wanted to catch those pieces by his hand. The different color elements represented different emotions: red for anger, blue for sad, yellow for sex and green for happy. And the five black solid rectangular represents finger,” Chen said. “I felt the most difficult part in the process of creating is that I need to figure out the topic of the poetry and do lots of research. At the same time, I also need to go though many art pieces created by other artists to find inspiration.”

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Henige was reading the poetry through feeling braille. All artworks has a braille introduction aside.

Brenda Henige, Visitor

“My cousin told me about this event so I decided to come over to check. This is interesting, because it is all new to me. I used to see with my right eye, but now I can’t see at all. So what I used to see would be totally different for me now. I can’t see the color or the figure, but I can picture the whole thing because I am able to feel all around it with my hands.

“It is also interesting to feel all the materials. If I could see, I might walk by it and see the color when I am not allowed to touch it, but I still can’t see the texture. This event is such a great chance for people like me to feel the art.”

(Aixing Chen’s art work)

Dr. Georgina Kleege, Keynote Speaker

“I’m interested in art and I’m interested in different ways to access art, and I’m also an English professor, so I’m interested in the dialogue with literature. In this case, you can touch the art and find their understanding of literature through art. This is interesting because sometimes it is hard to find the connection, because it is so personal to the artists.

But there is a long history in western art that art references some stories. If you think back in medieval times, many artwork was meant to illustrate the Bible, because most ordinary people can’t read. So it is some kind of overwhelming multi-sensory experience. So the connection between imaginary and story has a long tradition,” said Kleege.“My understanding of them [blind artists] is that they are very good at making mental images and figuring out how to show them to the world.”   

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All the artists gathered together

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Professor Natalie Phillips is talking

Vanessa Xie

Professor Natalie Phillips and President Lou Anna K. Simon


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