Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Colorful Blind Painter

Turkish painter, Esref Armagan (shown seated in the upper left panel), has been completely blind from the time he was born in 1953. Nonetheless, he has been drawing and painting since childhood. Not only is he able to produce images with the correct shape and perspective—more importantly for readers of this blog—he is able to produce correct colors that he has never seen . The astonishing accuracy of his work is shown here in the other three panels and, as a result, he has held exhibitions in Turkey, Holland and the Czech Republic.

This being the 21st century, naturally his brain has been probed using fMRI and written up in Harvard Medicine:

"As expected, as Armagan drew, the frontal–parietal region of his cortex became active—this area is known to transform perception into two-dimensional imagery and to coordinate sensory–motor information in sighted and nonsighted artists alike. What surprised the researchers was the robust activity in Armagan’s occipital cortex, a region devoted to visual processing."
Glad that's all sorted.

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