Kenyan artist is making art accessible to the visually impaired


Kenyan artist Tina Benawra is creating art that is accessible for people with visual impairments.

Benawra paints her art using tactile code. This art is not just about how it looks – how it feels is even more important.

Tina Benawra hopes to raise funds for eye cataract surgeries for children aged between 2 to 12 years old through the sale of her art.

“The visually impaired, totally blind, does not see visuals, does not dream in visuals, does not understand colour. So the only way I found that I could do in my own possible way was to have a direct description of the colour on the Braille. That was my first method, but now it has evolved into giving themes of what is happening around the world, for instance perhaps oil pollution or overpopulation, and I will write that in Braille.”

Braille is a tactile system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. She had to return to school to learn Braille so she could use the writing system in her paintings.

Winnie Awino lost her eyesight following an accident 12 years ago.

She wants art to be more inclusive.

“People tend to believe that if you can’t see, you can’t feel something also and that makes us feel left behind and stigmatised. Yet if we have different paintings that can be incorporated with Braille we can very well understand the meaning and what it entails.” said Winnie.

Benawra has previously displayed her work at art exhibitions but this was halted due to restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Her art pieces sell for between $500 and $1000.