This calendar is in my archives. Not the archives of this Art Blog, but archives in the physical world. I have just found it again, as I sorted through my ‘stuff.’ It features one of my artworks, “Divine Curry – Himani’s Curry.” Vision Australia put out their calendar each year, exclusively featuring visually impaired artists. It was great to make the short list of twelve that year. It brings back a lot of memories, both bad, and good.

First the bad. I lost most of my vision in my left eye in 2008 due to inoperable optic nerve damage. Only a slight bit of central vision left, with all the peripheries badly veiled.

Then, as predicted by a top eye specialist in Brisbane at the time, my right eye followed 9 months later, in 2009. Doom, gloom and depression for quite some time: 10 days in hospital to try to save the second eye, suspected MS; MRI tests; Lumbar Puncture; etc. Nothing found, except they knew that both my optic nerves had partially died. At least I didn’t have MS, thank the Gods. But I was left with only 10% vision in each eye basically, and only my left eye retained any central vision, a small crescent-shaped window of reasonable clarity. Like looking through a key-hole I guess.

DSC06032To cut this story short(er), I didn’t think I would ever paint again, or do photography. Until 2010 when (on a whim), I decided to see if I could see enough to paint. So I set up my easel in my small bathroom, with its white walls, and bright fluorescent light. And discovered that, not only could I see enough to paint, but also that I could enjoy the experience again. I painted “Mirror Heads” – an expressionistic depiction of my own plight at the time (search “Mirror Heads” on this site, if you will).

It was the catalyst for my “Fragments of Vision” exhibition at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) in 2011. I reinvented myself as a “Vision Impaired Artist” and the rest is well, more blind faith than history maybe.

Happily, my eyes stabilised at about that time. So I remain now with about 10% vision overall – and my amazing little crescent ‘window’ in the centre of my left eye, which allows me to see my world today. A sort of tunnel vision, surrounded by very veiled peripheries.

DSC06024And I am very happy with it. My brain and eyes (& emotions) have come to accept it, and so I have learned how to deal with it. I love my sight. My New Vision. And no longer take it for granted, like I used to, when I had ‘normal’ vision.

As the inset story says from the calendar, “Divine Curry – Himani’s Curry” was inspired and dedicated to a Sri Lankan hospital professional, who brought me a home-made prawn curry to cheer me up, as my vision was failing. Thank you Himani, wherever you are. What a wonderful lady.




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