I have woven a tapestry out of various wool and textile threads, and this tapestry, along with different-sized screens, forms the outline of a deformed pair of eyeglasses. I aim to shift this view by highlighting the intricate and beautiful details seen through glasses.
Through my tapestry, I aim to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with visual impairment, especially those who need glasses to see. According to the World Health Organization, more than 2.2 billion people worldwide are visually impaired or blind, with uncorrected refractive errors being the most common cause. However, despite the prevalence of visual impairment, there is often a stigma attached to wearing glasses, with many people believing that people who wear glasses are unattractive or abnormal and using language as a weapon to hurt those who have to wear them.
To challenge these preconceptions, I want to emphasize that glasses are not a sign of abnormality, but rather a tool for understanding the beauty and complexity of the world around us. The left side depicts an eye that upon closer inspection reveals a number of bugs crawling around inside the eyeball. This represents my experience as a highly nearsighted person. The tapestry on the right features a variety of colors, textures and materials that reflect the rich and varied visual experience that eyeglasses can provide. The eclipse-like central motif symbolizes the blocked sun's inability to provide enough light to stimulate the production of dopamine in our retinas, thereby protecting our vision; it also expresses the loss of "light". By juxtaposing the distorted shape of the glasses with the intricate details of the tapestry, I sought to emphasize the contrast between the negative stereotype of glasses and the beauty and complexity they can reveal.
Conversations and exhibitions across revealed a cultural curiosity—glasses as a fashion statement, even coveted by people for their trendy appeal, a stark contrast to the stigmatization still prevalent in many societies. This tapestry is not only a visual metaphor for the obscured vision of the wearer but also a canvas reflecting the societal lens—distorted by high-diopter, thick-lensed glasses that alter the eyes' appearance, and a lack of education and respect. It invites viewers to reflect on the subjective nature of beauty and the social forces shaping our perception of 'normalcy' and 'appeal.
Eyes act as mirrors, as do the 'EYE' and the 'I'—and so does the interplay between the artwork and its audience, each reflecting and informing the other. This tapestry, in its intricate details and tactile richness, invites the observer to lean in closer, to perceive with more than just sight. I encourage viewers to not only examine the piece with keen eyes but also to experience it with gentle touch, with eyes closed, tracing the contours and textures without altering its form. In doing so, participants engage with the journey of different mediums and embrace a sensory exploration that transcends visual limitations. This act of seeing beyond sight challenges our perceptions, reflecting on how we view ourselves and the 'other,' revealing that understanding often requires looking—and feeling—beyond the surface.