A London-based paralysed artist Sarah Ezekiel has earned international recognition for her remarkable vivid, life-affirming artworks.
Apart from the beauty of her arts, she has received public attention after it was revealed that she paints with just her eyes due to her medical condition that has left her unable to move her arms.
According to CNN, Ezekiel‘s pictures are painstakingly produced, stroke by stroke, using the movement of her eyes and specialised technology that relays those movements to a computer.
The eye-tracking technology gives Ezekiel a platform for artistic expression otherwise denied her by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Motor Neurone Disease.
Ezekiel showed no signs of the condition until 2000, when she was at the age of 34.
Pregnant with her second child, she noticed some weakness in her left arm and that she was slurring her speech.
Within months, she was diagnosed with ALS – a condition that affects one in 50,000 persons, according to the ALS Association, for which there is no known cure.
In an interview with CNN, she described her first five years living with ALS as a “bleak wilderness” and “very lonely.”
She has now made lemonade out of lemons by becoming an internationally recognised artist with the help of technology.
Ezekiel uses a system made by Tobii Dynavox, a company specializing in ‘Eye Gaze’ devices that help people with medical conditions communicate.
Its technology utilizes projectors, cameras and algorithms to track the tiny movements of the user’s pupils and control a cursor on a screen. The technology also lets her surf the internet, shop online and use social media.
Ezekiel, who studied art when she was younger, began painting using the Eye Gaze device in 2012. Her first artwork, “Peaceful Warrior,” took its title from a book by Dan Millman.
Although her work has been exhibited across the UK and as far as Qatar, Ezekiel said she is still learning and that there are always new techniques to explore.
When I’m creating, I’m totally focused on my work, all of my problems disappear. The odd thing is that my style hasn’t changed. My Eye Gaze work resembles work I did with my hands before.
When the UK is free from coronavirus she hopes to exhibit once again. In the meantime she continues to sell her artworks online.
Being an artist because of technology has totally improved my outlook on life and opened up many other possibilities for me. I couldn’t create for years and it’s fantastic that technology has made it possible again.