Positive Connections: Blind artist turns dark situation into vibrant life

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita woman has taken what some might consider a dark situation and turned it into an opportunity to spread joy.

Tomiyo Tajairi, 64, moved to the United States from Japan in 1995. It was around that time artist known for her origami designs and fashioning accessories started to lose her vision.

“So 25 years ago, I am OK,” said Tajairi.

Tajairi said a genetic disorder caused her vision to change. Most things appear foggy and dark now.

While at a doctor’s appointment at Envision the mom of the three learned of the organization’s art program and enrolled.

“We serve all ages from zero to senior citizens, working with all materials and individuals that are blind, vision impaired and those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Envision Art Education Teacher Sarah Kephart. “Her (Tajairi) coming into this program, she was able to now explore her work and her ideas through clay and that has really grown and bloomed in so many wonderful ways fo her.”

Tajairi visits Envision’s state-of-the-art maker space several times a week. She considers art to be more than a hobby.

“Art is very important to me and my life. We take the medicine, supplement medicine. Art is my heart’s supplement,” she said.

KSN asked Tajairi how she is able to create art without having the ability to see what she is making. She said she relies on her past experiences.

“I need to imagine in my brain because 25 years ago I good vision, so memory, my good memory help with my brain. My brain has many color, design,” Tajairi said.

Tajairi said art makes her feel invincible. It gives her an outlet to express herself. She invites anyone and everyone to give it a try no matter their skill level.

Tajairi was one of five artists chosen to create a piece for the next phase of Wichita’s Gallery Alley. She has also given demonstrations and training classes in New York, Colorado and California.

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