A Brief History of Migraine Art!
Creating art is a therapeutic release for migraine sufferers. Also, the images conceived due to this ailment provide insight for researchers. It is not an easy task to explain how exactly your world looks to someone whose version of reality is different! This holds true for people with aura-filled migraines and epilepsy. Read on to know how art has helped people with migraines for centuries!
Art and Migraine – In Sync!
Instead of struggling with words to explain, people with these ailments are increasingly producing art that is more effective. The creative thinkers begin to feel less alone and isolated. Even the doctors get a better understanding of the signs and symptoms they are trying to treat. Apart from this, researchers gain new insights and breakthroughs into how some neurological diseases can affect the patient’s brain.
According to Klaus Podoll of the department for psychosomatics, psychotherapy and psychiatry at the University Hospital Aachen, Germany, if one has a migraine, he or she might experience visual disturbances, apart from pain and sensory disturbance. He said that these symptoms are very difficult to describe in 5-10 minutes and the patients find it challenging. But, in an image or picture, you can indicate all, at the same time. Additionally, epilepsy can result in similar set of signs and symptoms – and with the help of a picture, one can quickly understand what a patient is suffering.
A Brief History!
The mere idea that this disease could inspire compelling art has been in the existence since the late 1970s. The initiative was taken by Derek Robinson, who came up with the thought of having a unique art competition in order to promote a novel drug to treat this condition. Most surprisingly, the response was simply overwhelming.
In the coming decade, the British Migraine Association (now known as the Migraine Action Association) was involved with four British competitions which collected nearly 900 illustrations and paintings from people with migraine around the world. This cause gained further recognition from British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who took 15 such images in his book, “Migraine.”
Next on the line, a series of American art competitions followed. Thus, the idea of migraine art was conceived. From that moment, plenty of artworks have been displayed, acclaimed, bought and sold in art galleries.
Migraine Art – The Study
Towards the end of 20th century, Podoll started to study some 600 images from Robinson’s art collection. Also, he asked for nearly 130 artists for describing their ailments. These study findings were documented by him in a series of research papers. Also, they were published in the 2008 book, “Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within.”
In most images, he discovered depictions of overlooked, bizarre and unusual symptoms. For example, people with migraine may feel as if their body parts are either becoming extraordinarily small or large. They even see double, triple or quadruple images.
People experiencing these symptoms can be wary to let their doctors know about their condition as they fear diagnoses of mental disorders. But according to Podoll, seeing paintings and illustrations by other sufferers who exhibit the same signs and symptoms can reassure and validate them. The migraine art can also help doctors see and understand symptoms they may not have been aware of.
Migraine Art –Tracing the Roots!
The compelling art has helped a lot to legitimize ailments that have been associated with social stigma. As more and more number of artists with migraines have begun to talk openly about how their auras and headaches have influenced their craft, scientists, in turn, started to reanalyze the work of eminent artists. These are artists whose hallucinatory styles might have been conceived from neurologically driven visual disturbances.
One such prime example is Georgia O’Keefe, according to Podoll. Even Lewis Carroll’s auras can elucidate the strange encounters of Alice in Wonderland. There is strong evidence suggesting that visual migraine auras actually inspired Giorgio de Chirico. This famous artist was the founder of pre-Surrealistic style of Metaphysical art, which began in the early 20th century.
Hence, migraine art is now socially acceptable and people with this illness are more open about their condition through the world of colors and hues! Paint your innermost thoughts and express yourself without any fear!