‘Seeing Things’ has been created by The Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) to help raise awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS), a condition thought to affect well over 100,000 people in the UK. The condition can affect people who lose a significant amount, or all, of their sight, and takes the form of vivid, realistic hallucinations, which are frequently bizarre or unsettling.
Leading local artists engaged with CBS sufferers to try and visualise their hallucinations, resulting in a fascinating exhibition; 'Seeing Things', which saw its first outing at The Forum Gallery earlier this year.
The artworks take many forms; animation, sculpture, digital, photographic, mixed media installations, video and portrait. Accompanying the pieces are auditory descriptions from recorded interviews with CBS sufferers.
Gemma Baldwin of the NNAB, organiser of the exhibition, said, “We are aiming to further illuminate and explain this strange and often misunderstood syndrome in an engaging and accessible way, as well as to de-stigmatise a sight-condition which can often be perceived as a mental health issue."
“It may seem counter-intuitive to use visual art to raise awareness of a condition which affects those who have lost a significant amount, or all, or their sight, but we felt this was a way in which we could bring CBS to the attention of the wider world. CBS is still largely unknown by visually-impaired people and the medical community alike, and yet it affects many thousands of people each year. CBS presents very strange images at times; wild animals, leering faces, figures from different historical eras and so recognising and understanding the syndrome makes it much less frightening for the sufferer and is undoubtedly the most helpful tool in managing it."
"The NNAB is delighted to collaborate with The Crypt Gallery and reach new audiences in our campaign to establish CBS as a well-known and understood condition."
This exhibition has been made possible with funding and support from the National Lottery Big Lottery Fund, The Crypt, and the NNAB.
Devin Smith: recent NUA masters graduate and painter; who seeks to understand the individual behind the portrait and tell their story www.facebook.com/DevinSmithArt/
Henry Driver: 2016 NUA masters graduate with works exhibited nationally and internationally; he is providing digital art for the exhibition www.henrydriverartist.com
Matt Reeve: NUA masters graduate, multidisciplinary artist, designer and maker; he is providing sculpts and a large-scale projection piece and has created all the graphic design for the exhibition www.mattreeve.co.uk
Louise Richardson: NUA masters graduate, Louise is a contemporary fine artist and is providing mixed media pieces for the exhibition www.louiserichardsonartist.com
Jeremy Webb: a professional photographer with over 30 years’ experience on a wide range of commercial and fine art projects. Jeremy’s work has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally www.jeremywebbphotography.com
Chedgey: attended Ealing, Twickenham and Liverpool Art Schools, and has worked in public and private collections world-wide and painted more than 250 commissioned portraits. Recent sitters include Hollywood actor Mark Strong, Desmond MacCarthy and Norman Lamb www.davidchedgey.com/biography
Martin Laurance: initially working as an engraver and graphic designer, Martin now paints full-time and his paintings are widely exhibited in the UK and abroad www.martinlaurance.com