Challenging vision in visual arts in the South African sociocultural context

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i4.13

Keywords:

Aesthetics, Hephapreneurship, Infinity design process, Inclusion, Visual Arts, Visually impaired

Abstract

This conceptual article is anchored on critical phenomenology to challenge the monopolisation of visual arts by the sense of vision, thus depriving visually impaired people of aesthetic value beyond ordinary cognitive faculties. In this study, we discuss the forms of painting, drawing and sculpting defined as Visual Arts referring to appreciation only by vision; thus, excluding the visually impaired as unable to appreciate or create by sight. This exclusiveness has dominated and directed art aesthetics and ethics, allowing aesthetic criteria research projects and educational curricula to be established and, conventionally, maintain their static existence unchallenged. Furthermore, vision exclusiveness limits creative thinking and artistic inspiration. This article demonstrates the need and importance of broadening students’ artistic conceptualisation of inclusiveness in Visual Arts by exploring three fields of humanities education, i.e., academic, educational and sociocultural. The article challenges established stereotypes by introducing innovative approaches and opening alternative channels of creative and critical thinking in higher art education. From a sociocultural viewpoint in the South African context, the analysis questions the validity of certain firmly rooted stereotypical concepts about art values and standards by encountering the visually unimpeded and impaired. While the research broadens students’ artistic conceptualisation of inclusiveness in Visual Arts, it simultaneously promotes the concept of hephapreneurship (hepha+preneurship), a neologism inspired by the Greek god, Hephaestus, protector of arts and crafts, himself handicapped. The term does not draw attention to the inabilities of persons with visual impairment, but their creative abilities through encouragement and motivation. By direct and open exposure to the problem, the research promotes the importance of arts education as a challenging platform for interaction between two, by definition, opposed realities.

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Author Biography

Prof Maximus Monaheng Sefotho, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Associate Professor - Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg

Published

2021-12-06

How to Cite

Steyn, R., & Sefotho, M. M. (2021). Challenging vision in visual arts in the South African sociocultural context. Perspectives in Education, 39(4), 187-201. https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i4.13

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Section

Research articles