Pusi Urale, 81, has not let her vision loss deter her from her art.

A successful Samoan artist and inspiration to young Pacific artists across New Zealand, she has recently joined Blind Low Vision NZ as a client.

“I have a cousin who is with you in Wellington she encouraged me to join Blind Low Vision NZ so I could meet other people like me – it’s good to talk to people who understand what it’s like to be blind or low vision. When I first made contact I was put in touch with the Fatima from the Pacific service team and they came to visit along with Shireen (Ali) who did a vision assessment”.

A long time teacher and mother of six children Pusi never stopped working or learning. She came to NZ with her family to give them more opportunities. As well as teaching Pusi went to evening classes to do pottery, picture framing and oil painting. Years of hard work, late nights and lack of sleep led to her eye condition. Pusi was diagnosed with a burst blood vessel caused by high blood pressure in the eye.

Taking a break from teaching Pusi embarked on a diploma in art and creativity that led to her teaching art. At the same time Pusi set up her own Tapa art making course. “I had never taught art before but I used to watch my mother making art I helped her to collect the bark for the dyes and I knew all the tattoo designs in my head”.

A practicing artist since 2014, her vision has deteriorated. She has been blind in her right eye for 30 years and her left eye is not as strong as it used be, but that has not stopped Pusi from painting. In 2017 and 2018 she was a finalist in the prestigious Wallace Art Awards.

“I use a magnifier to help me with detail and Shireen from Independent Living is helping me find ways to use the right type of light to help me continue to work”.

It was on her visit to Pusi recently that Shireen spotted the similarities in Pusi tactile dot art with Ishihara Colour Tests we use to do our low vision assessments.

Pointillism is one of the techniques that Pusi uses in her art, a technique in which small distinct dots of colour area are applied in patterns to form an image. “I love doing flowers and patterns and use chopsticks with the ends shaved to create the dots and leaves”.

I love learning and I am privileged to have a hobby I love.

If you need support to continue doing the things you love with vision loss, call us on 0800 24 33 33 or email info@blindlowvision.org.nz