On the 7th of November 1920, Franc Dolinar and Alojzij Levstek founded the Support Society for the Blind in Ljubljana, the first Slovenian society for the disabled. The main purpose of the Society was to raise money to help the impoverished blind who at that time were dependent on relatives and acquaintances.
Throughout known history, blind and partially sighted people have been associated with art as creators, performers, transmitters or users of works of art. Otherwise we would not be talking about Homer (8th-9th centuries BC), the violin maker Filippo Višnjić (1767-1834), John Milton (1608-1674), the Syrian poet Abu al-Ala al-Mari (973-1057), to name but a few.
Among the blind and partially sighted Slovenians there are painters, poets, writers, musicians, actors, singers, photographers, etc. They present their creativity to audiences in Slovenia and abroad. They have won awards, competing even with the sighted.
Whether a person is considered to be blind or partially sighted, strongly depends on the definition of blindness. Contrary to popular belief, blind people are not only those who have completely lost the ability to see and whose perception of light is zero (amaurosis). From a social point of view, the definition also includes those who have some residual vision (up to 5 %), but it is so insubstantial and incomplete that it does not allow the person to orient him/herself independently in an unfamiliar environment.
The exhibition presents art made by people with impared or lost sight. And how do they paint? They all have their own technique. They use magnifying glasses, photographs on which they draw grids, they paint from memory, they make 1:1 sketches... They adapt their subject matter and technique as their eyesight deteriorates or according to their residual vision. They limit and divide the space on the canvas with contour. They draw when there is a lot of light in the studio or outdoors. The light must fall at the right angle. They mark their colour tubes and so on.
The exhibition of paintings and photographs by the blind and visually impaired is not only a celebration of the centenary of the self-organisation of the blind in Slovenia, but it also encourages empathy, which enables the viewer to better understand the needs of the blind and partially sighted people - or as Evgen Bavčar wrote on this anniversary: "Let me conclude with the famous Louis Borges, who says that blindness is not darkness, but only a form of loneliness, so let us unite in the realisation of our human potential and in defence of our active longing that is a part of us all."