Tate Online, sponsored by BT, today launches i-Map (www.tate.org.uk/imap), a web-based resource for visually impaired people using selected works by Matisse and Picasso.
Complementing the current exhibition Matisse Picasso, the site focuses on three pairs of works by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso exploring their artistic innovations, influences and personal motivations, as well as some of the key concepts in modern art. Topics covered in the programme include Cubism, Primitivism, the female nude and perspective. Aimed at all partially sighted and blind people with a general interest in art as well as art teachers and their visually impaired pupils, i-Map incorporates text, image enhancement and deconstruction, animation and raised images. Visually deconstructing works online to examine small areas of a painting in detail enables those with visual impairments to build a better understanding of the whole picture.
An integral aspect of i-Map, which is supported by BT, is the creation of raised drawings. Used in conjunction with the text only function on the website, the drawings bring to life the visual elements of paintings by Matisse and Picasso. They can be accessed from the raised images page on the website. They are also available to borrow direct from Tate.
i-Map is a permanent resource which will be available after Matisse Picasso finishes and expanded over time to include works by other artists. It joins a range of facilities for visually impaired people at Tate Modern including touch tours and dedicated equipment and further strengthens Tate’s commitment to intellectual access.
i-Map is created by Caro Howell, Curator for Special Projects at Tate Modern, and Daniel Porter, web author. Commenting on the achievement Caro Howell said:
Approximately two million people in the UK are blind or partially sighted and Tate believes that they should not be prevented from enjoying art. i-Map aims to provide another route for visually impaired people to engage with the ideas and debates of modern art.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, commented:
Creating an accessible art museum involves removing both intellectual and physical barriers. Tate is committed to pioneering new programmes for people with sensory impairments and I hope that i-Map will encourage more blind and partially sighted people to experience the Tate Collection both on-line and in the galleries.
Programmes for visually impaired people at Tate Modern are supported by ICAP plc.
Tate Online, powered by BT Openworld, has grown to be among the most successful museum sites in the world, with visitors from more than 140 countries in 2001. Since BT and BT Openworld became Tate Online’s partners, visitor figures have almost doubled, with May 2002 registering 197,000 unique visitors, the highest figure to date.