Accessible art exhibition takes hands-on approach

Published 03 December 2021

Michelle Vine Soft Touch.jpg

With the pandemic making ‘hands off’ a way of life over the last 18 months, a unique exhibition is putting the focus back on human touch.

Developed by Moreton Bay Regional Council, Mayor Peter Flannery said the Michelle Vine: Soft Touch exhibition will transform the Caboolture Regional Art Gallery into an immersive space this summer.

“With December 5 to 11 being Disability Action Week, there’s no better time to get out and enjoy all our region has to offer,” Mayor Flannery said.

“We want Moreton Bay to be the most accessible community in South-East Queensland - and that includes everyone being able to enjoy the arts.

“Being able to lose yourself in this wonderful world Michelle Vine has created, where play and touch are highly encouraged, is a real treat.

“This exhibition is all about igniting the senses, and your imagination.”

Soft Touch is a world of furry forests, cosy bathtubs and embraceable artworks, using a fantastic collection of materials including everything from faux fur to feathers, and fabric to timber and foam.

The first major solo exhibition at a regional gallery for Michelle Vine, the works showcase her interest in human touch and her desire to disrupt sight as the dominant sense in contemporary art exhibitions.

It’s also informed by the artist’s lived experiences of sensory difference from being neurodivergent and experiencing chronic illness and prioritises gentle and soothing textures.

Michelle Vine describes her work as a playful and positive exhibition for all ages, that aims for greater inclusion for disabilities or access needs.   

“When I started exploring my own experiences of disability and chronic illness through making comforting touchable artworks, I realised that working this way could also be inclusive of people with disabilities different to my own. This inspired me to challenge myself by asking - how could I create an exhibition to be radically inclusive and accessible and full of fun?"

“Access and inclusion of community members with disabilities is not just a nice thing to do. In Disability Action week it's important to point out that equal access to and participation in cultural life is a recognised human right. Access is an important part of my artistic practice and I hope to inspire others to think also how they can be more inclusive of diverse audiences through art.”

Mayor Peter Flannery said Moreton Bay Regional Council is committed to supporting the region’s arts and cultural offerings as well as providing accessible places for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re investing more than 20 million dollars into the arts, libraries, community facilities and history as part of our 2021/22 Budget,” Mayor Flannery said.

“We have lots of accessible infrastructure in place, ensuring everyone who lives in and visits the beautiful Moreton Bay region can enjoy active, healthy lifestyles, including playgrounds, boardwalks, pathways and even beach matting.”

The Michelle Vine: Soft Touch exhibition will run from 4 December 2021 until 27 January 2021 at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. Entry is free. For more information, visit

Image credit: Michelle Vine, To have and to hold (detail), 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.