Berwick artist who can’t see faces after surgery uses stunning designs to show how she sees

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Amy Izat has always dreamed of being a portrait painter – beautifully reproducing the world she sees around her on paper and canvas.

So when rescue operations began to take his sight out, the artist from Berwick felt one of his most important tools had been taken.

But, determined not to let the loss of sight get in the way of her dreams, she now uses her experience to create art that is truly “unique and individual”.

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At 27, she is about to embark on her first major exhibition, which explores what remains after much of her sight has been lost.

In 2014, at just 20, while visiting Sardinia, Amy collapsed from a brain hemorrhage caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

This tangle of abnormal blood vessels in her brain put her life in danger and she was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, with only a 50% chance of survival.

After numerous operations and four weeks in the hospital’s high addiction unit, she began the process of recovery, but the AVM remained “a constant fear”.



Amy at work in her studio

Other surgeries led to complications, including a stroke and loss of half of the sight of both eyes. In addition to suffering from migraines, fatigue, and mental health issues as a result of the surgeries, she subsequently lost vision at the center point of her eyes, which meant she could no longer see the center of the eyes. things that she is looking directly at – depriving her of the ability to see an entire face.

Today, in a new exhibition in London, Amy joins other artists living with vision loss to show the world what she sees. For her part of the show, she drew intricate and beautiful pictures of birds, before passing an eraser to a trusted friend, who removes the central part of the picture – the part she can no longer see.

“It was a huge challenge for me because every time I had the surgery I lost more vision,” she said.

“For the first time, I’m being asked to draw what I see. The whole concept is of someone I trust, like the surgeon, removing something that was once perfect, and my frustration with see often I ‘I spent to draw the image which is taken away from me, it is symbolizing what I felt.

“It’s about trying to educate visually impaired artists, but also to have a positive mental state, to turn something negative into a positive, to turn something that you may consider flawed into a positive.”



Amy’s intricate drawings are partly erased, symbolizing her loss of sight

Amy still isn’t sure if she might lose sight of more in the future, but she gains self-confidence as she struggles to share her journey with the world.

In addition to using grid techniques to continue to draw her beautifully detailed images of animals and birds, she is gradually learning “to make sense of what I can see and put it on canvas.”

She said: “I’ve always been someone who had to make sure everything was perfect and right, and it was about learning that there is nothing wrong with not being perfect because you can turn this imperfection into perfection in your own way.

“It’s about accepting, letting go of what society wants from you and creating something new.”

She added, “People often say that my experiences have increased my sensitivity when I draw. I have more determination and appreciation for the vision I have left. These are gifts I wouldn’t have without all that I survived. “

  • Windows of the Soul is presented at Lumen Church in London from October 15-23 and is supported by the University College London Public Engagement Office, the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Center and the Moorfields Eye Hospital.
  • You can read more about Amy’s work at https://amyizat.com/

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