Organized and promoted by: Itabashi Art Museum - Tokyo and JBBY
In collaboration with: Azienda Speciale Palaexpo and Bologna Children’s Book Fair
Curated by: Laboratorio d’arte - Palazzo delle Esposizioni di Roma
plates drawn and devised by Michela Tonelli and Antonella Veracchi
Wooden tactile boards manufactured by: Mamalbero

Special thanks to our working group: Camilla e Francesco Capitani, Federica Carbonin, Simona Cassano, Rosanna D’Amato, Massimiliano Naccarato, Andrea Stoppa. 
or the first time in its history, a selection of works from the Bologna Children's Book Fair's Illustrators Exhibiton 2020 has been made accessible to the visually impaired.  This experimental project organized internationally has shown us a new and unusual way of “reading” the art of illustration by granting the sense of touch the privilege that is usually given to the sense of sight. Due to the closure of the Bologna Book Fair and the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in response to medical emergency, we will not be able to experience this directly with our fingers. However, the project will be kept alive online in Italy as a proposal of good practice and will be shown in art museums in Japan from July 2020 to January 2021.
The selecion of the works, 5 illustrations of 5 illlustrators from 5 different countries (Andrea Antinori – Italy; Ambre Renault Faivre D’Arcier – France; Koichi Konatsu – Japan; Phoolan Matsak – Germany; Kate Winter - UK) has been made accordingly to criteria such as: tactile usability of the image, narrative sequence from details to general, narrativity of each image.
Lines, strokes, shapes and colors have gained substance and diverse textures to let us all enjoy the world of illustration non only with our eyes but with our fingers as well, involving us in the process of mutual enrichment.
Some illustrations have lent themselves to be reproduced faithfully following their original forms, but for others changes made based on discussions with the artists lead, at times, to shedding stylistic details to prioritize smoother reading by the sense of touch. For both the sighted and the non-sighted, this reading process is complex and cannot be accomplished immediately. Long-term tactile education and high capacity for abstraction are needed. These boards, therefore, will serve as an invitation to re-awaken and re-educate our sense of touch, so often numbed and demoted, and to familiarize ourselves with the fact that sometimes things that cannot be read at first sight can take shape by reading slowly and carefully with our fingers.
This experimental project has been realized thanks to close collaboration with a heterogenous group of seven, with different types of visual impairment and blindness. They have been asked to test the boards and have contributed actively with their assessments and suggestions.
Since it is impossible to touch these boards, the project, presented with images, are accompanied by audio recordings.

Andrea Antinori
"The great battle"

Ambre Renault Faivre D'arcier 

Koichi Konatsu
“Little bird is a dinosaur”

Kate Winter
"20.000 years ago they found a cave"

Matzak Phoolan