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Sensory mural unveiled in Shoreditch for the deafblind to 'feel' sunrise and sound of waves

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 20 May 2019

Multi-sensory mural unveiled in Great Eastern Street for the blind and deaf. Picture: Deafblind UK

Multi-sensory mural unveiled in Great Eastern Street for the blind and deaf. Picture: Deafblind UK

Deafblind UK

A 'touchy feely' sensory mural has been unveiled in Shoreditch for the deaf and blind close to the site where Shakespeare's original Curtain Playhouse was discovered.

Mural depicting seawaves, sunrise and forest with tactile lengths of string. Picture: Deafblind UKMural depicting seawaves, sunrise and forest with tactile lengths of string. Picture: Deafblind UK

The mural is 'live' until June 7, representing three scenes that people who are deaf and blind have said they miss most—the sound of waves on a beach, the colours of a sunrise and the sights and sounds of a woodland walk.

It has been erected in Great Eastern Street on what's left of the old Broad Street main-line railway arch that was demolished more than 20 years ago, which is used to promote up-and-coming street artists.

The Deafblind UK national charity reached agreement with Global Street Art and Cain International developers who own the wall which is all that's left of the railway arch.

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"People with sensory impairments can enjoy this mural as much as those with sight and hearing," Deafblind UK's chief Steve Conway said. "It's something that there isn't enough of today.

"The mural gives a powerful message to those who don't know about or haven't considered the effects of sight and hearing loss. Deafblindness affects so many people with age, but is often overlooked."

Shakespeare's Elizabethan Curtain Playhouse uncovered by Museum of London archaeologists in 2008. Picture: Museum of London ArchaeologyShakespeare's Elizabethan Curtain Playhouse uncovered by Museum of London archaeologists in 2008. Picture: Museum of London Archaeology

Each scene uses tactile string materials. Waves are mapped by string in a pattern, sunrise radiates string to show how light goes in every direction and the 'woodland walk' uses it to simulate trees.

The mural is part of a programme on the 'Great Eastern art wall' used for artists to collaborate with charities. It sits at the edge of the £750m Stage development, a massive complex of flats, offices and shops nearing completion named to commemorate Shakespeare's Curtain theatre after the foundations were discovered buried at the site in 2008 when the ground was being prepared for construction.

The Curtain is one of the earliest Elizabethan playhouses where theatre-goers paid to get in. Fragments of ceramic money boxes found at the site were used to collect coins and taken to a 'box' office to be smashed open and the money counted—the term 'box office' is still used in theatres today.

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