Eşref Armağan (born 1953) is a blind painter of Turkish origin. He was born both unsighted and to an impoverished family. As a child and young adult he never received any formal schooling or training; however, he has taught himself to write and print. He draws and paints by using his hands and primarily oil paints. In this manner, Mr. Armagan has been perfecting his art for the past thirty-five years.

He needs absolute quiet when working. First, using a Braille stylus, he etches an outline of his drawing. He needs to feel that he is "inside" his painting - for example, when he is drawing a picture of the sea, he often wonders if he should wear a life jacket so as not to drown. When he is satisfied with his drawing, he starts to apply the oils with his fingers. Because he applies only one color at a time (the colors would smear otherwise), he must wait two or three days for the color to dry before applying the next color. This method of painting is entirely unique to Mr. Armagan. He receives no assistance or training from any individual. He also learned to draw perspective.

He has also developed his own methods of doing portraits. He asks a sighted person to draw around a photograph, then he turns the paper over and feeling it with his left hand, he transfers what he feels onto another sheet of paper, later adding color. He has done portraits of the former first lady of Turkey, the current president and current prime minister.

In 2008 two researchers from Harvard, Dr. Amir Amedi and Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, tried to find more about neural plasticity using Mr. Armagan as a study case. Both scientists had evidence that in cases of blindness, the "visual" cortex acts differently than how it acts with the non-blind. Pascual-Leone has found that Braille readers use this very same area for touch. Amedi, together (with Ehud Zohary) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Israel), found that the area is also activated in verbal memory tasks. When Amedi analyzed the results, however, he found that Armagan's visual cortex lit up during the drawing task, but hardly at all for verbal recall, meaning that some unused visual areas might be used in collaboration with ones needs from the brain. Moreover in scans that were held while Armagan drew, his visual cortex signals seamed as he was seeing to the extant that a naive viewer of his scan might assume Armagan really could see.

Mr. Armagan is married with two children. He has displayed his work at more than 20 exhibitions in Turkey, Italy, China, Holland and the Czech Republic. He has appeared several times on television and in the press in Turkey and has been on programs on BBC and ZD. In 2004, he was the subject of a study of human perception, conducted by the psychologist John Kennedy of University of Toronto.

In 2009 Armağan was invited by Volvo, to paint the new model S60. As it was not meant for a TV-commercial, more of a community "PR-trick", Volvo made a series of documentaries, posted on Volvo's Facebook page, where Armağan paints the S60, as well as single parts, wished by community. The painting was for sale on Ebay, and sold for US $3,050. The Canadian non-profit charity organization World Blind Union (WBU) was the benefactor of the auction.

Source :- Acid Cow

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