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Art and Epilepsy

If we adopt the definition of art as a creative expression of human beings that provides evidence of their thoughts, interpretations, feelings and wishes, it is understandable that the darker sides, failures and borderline experiences, and not just the sunny side of life, are reflected in the subject matter of artistic creations . Such negative moments can be caused by unhappiness, death, disappointment – and also by illnesses, disorders especially like epilepsy. The conspicuously frequent use of epilepsy as the subject matter for art may on the one hand be due to the fact that epilepsy is and has in fact always been common throughout history Against this backdrop, it is therefore hardly surprising that epilepsy as a depressing, frightening and in many stigmatizing affliction, is repeatedly a subject of the artistic divestment of the human being in the visual art, literature and in music as well.

For centuries there has been an important connection between art and epilepsy. Some of the world’s most creative minds are speculated by many to have been influenced by epilepsy, such as the highly acclaimed artists featured here. Their names often appear on lists and publications about famous people with epilepsy, about migraines and about other medical and psychological conditions. World famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Livice Carol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo were also living with epilepsy.

World famous writers like Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carol, Sir Walter Scott, Truman Capote had also lived with epilepsy. And so many great singers and musicians also had lived with epilepsy.

Institutes of Epilepsy from United States, Australia and many other countries always encourage the people with epilepsy (PWE) to enjoy with art. So many PWEs like Jim Chambliss, Phil Thomson are becoming famous artists.

If we think about India, we will find that there is still not special provision only of art career for the people with epilepsy. Fortunately the self help groups like Sanvedana Foundation and the chapters of Indian Epilepsy Association are creating the awareness about art and epilepsy in the society.