Painting in the Dark


photo courtesy of Zafer Kizilkaya

Esref Armagan (born 1953) is a contemporary Turkish painter who has been completely blind since birth. He grew up poor and uneducated, and never had an art lesson, yet he paints detailed pictures in bright colors and 3-point perspective without assistance. For decades, Armagan was the subject of curiosity, awe, and skepticism in his native Turkey. Then in 2004, he became the subject of scientific brain studies in the United States. The astonishing results have been published in science journals, magazines, and newspapers around the globe. In 2008 the Discovery Channel aired a documentary which featured Armagan (and three others with extraordinary abilities) called The Real Superhumans. (Click link in right column to view video)

I discovered Esref Armagan quite by accident when an article about him popped up in an unrelated google search. It caught my eye, and I was immediately hooked. I knew I had to write a book and share his inspiring story with kids everywhere. How, I wondered, could a man paint things he has never seen? And why would he even want to paint pictures he'd never himself lay eyes on?

THE BOOK:
(read the interview: https://litpick.com/content/inspiration-painting-dark) 

 After 18 months of research, interviews, and writing, I completed my picture book biography about this remarkable painter.  Painting in the Dark: The Story of Esref Armagan, Blind Artist, has been favorably reviewed by members of the Arts and Disabilities organizations, as well as national and international organizations for the blind. (Click here to read reviews). It was released in July 2016 by the award-winning children's educational publisher, Tumblehome Learning. **  
Talented ILLUSTRATOR Claudia Gadotti is the artist for the book.

Armagan's fascinating story will be a valuable addition to both science and art curricula, and an inspiration to children with disabilities and those who care for them.

Tumblehome Learning in committed to making this book accessible to the visually impaired. It is already available as an audiobook (with verbal descriptions of several paintings), and will be released in braille with some tactile images in January 2017.

 Special thanks for help and support in the process of writing this book:
 Esref Armagan
Joan Eroncel (Mr. Armagan's manager)
Dr. John M. Kennedy (University of Toronto)
Dr. Amir Amedi (Harvard Medical School & Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Art Beyond Sight 
Special thanks to Zafer Kizilkaya for photo permission

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1 comment:

  1. Eşref Armağan's story is incredible! I'll tell my Turkish EFL students and friends about this site. I know they have heard of him, but they will profit from reading about him in English. The fact that you're writing this book for kids makes it all the more appropriate for EFL students.

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