An outdoor campaign gives viewers a glimpse of how a city like Amsterdam is seen through the eyes of the blind.
A blank canvas, a color palette, but no chance to visually grasp the outside world – would you still be able to paint the things around you? Five blind-born artists were in for this challenge and contributed to an outdoor campaign for the new event CtheCity, a walk through Amsterdam in complete darkness assisted by blind tour guides.
During an intense painting session, the artists created astonishing images based on their own perception of some of the city’s top tourist attractions, such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Westertoren, the Red Light District, Rembrandt’s Night Watch or the Anne Frank House, only to name a few.
The agency behind this remarkable campaign is +1Mile, a Dutch collective of people working in advertising who collaborate for social initiatives. Founded by creatives Joris van Elk and André Dammers, their main goal is to support projects, which deserve public attention but lack the means to produce outstanding communication on their own.
The making of the artwork for the CtheCity project.
„Before we started each painting session we discussed the subject with the artists“ Joris says, explaining the process of creation. „For instance, the Night Watch by Rembrandt: Hamid, who painted this visual, first asked us about the color and mood of the painting. We responded: ‚Dark’. Then Hamid asked us: ‚What is a dark color?’ We answered: ‚Black’. Then Hamid asked us for black paint and started painting a black square. So with a lot of patience, a lot of love and a few failures we managed to come to these end results“.
In total, 12 paintings were produced for the campaign, which was shown throughout the entire city of Amsterdam, placed on spots that are relevant to the subjects' pictures. The final impressionistic reproductions relate to what to expect during the CtheCity tour, which offers their visitors a realistic experience of life as a blind person in the Dutch capital, complete with sound, touch and scent effects.
The team of artists (from left to right): Hamid, Melanie, Jeroen, Sophie and Novell.