Painting in the Dark: Esref Armagan, Blind Artist
Painting in the Dark tells the story of Esref Armagan, an artist from Turkey who was born without sight. Rachelle Burk captures his extraordinary life in this picture book as he learns to “see” not with his eyes, but with his hands.
The story begins with Esref as a young boy in his father’s shop, scraping shapes into cardboard with a nail. Then, as he develops a passion for drawing, he learns to use his other faculties to visually represent the world around him. “One day you will be a great artist,” his Baba tells him.
The book contains illustrations by Claudia Gadotti, as well as Esref’s own paintings and drawings.
We plan to produce books that contain braille and tactile image so Esref’s inspirational story can be accessible to all children. Just as Esref learned to view his world through touch, the tactile pictures will help blind children to understand visual concepts like shadows and depth. If we reach our stretch goal, we will be able to create an iBook that reads the story out loud and describes the illustrations. All of our blind accessible versions of Painting in the Dark will be donated to blind children across the country.
About Esref Armagan
In 1953, Esref Armagan was born completely blind to a poor family in Istanbul, Turkey. He received no formal education, and spent his childhood days in his father’s shop where he developed the curiosity to create and draw. He experienced the world through touch, and learned to visually reproduce his surroundings with his hands. He paints using his fingertips, coating layers of oil paint onto his canvas. His beautiful paintings range from portraits to pastoral landscapes.
Esref still produces remarkable paintings as a professional artist. His work has been displayed at more than 20 exhibitions in Turkey, Italy, China, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. He is married and has two children. Learn more here.
Through this campaign, we hope to obtain funding for production that will allow us to create and donate Painting in the Dark in braille to blind children.
Our goal of $4,000 covers part of the cost of production, including illustration, copyrights and designs.
Our stretch goal of $10,000 will allow us to create an iBook version of the book, with voiceover and multiple links to images and information.
Through Pubslush, we are pre-selling copies of Painting in the Dark as well as various rewards such as posters, Skype sessions with author Rachelle Burk, and an acknowledgment in the book. Through purchasing this wonderful book, you are helping children understand that visual impairment is no barrier to a creative and successful life.
We are collaborating with Art Education for the Blind of Art Beyond Sightto publish Painting in the Dark for blind children.
Art Beyond Sight’s mission is to make art, art history, and visual culture accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Their goal is to provide and promote the tangible benefits of art education, museum visits, and art making for children and adults with sight loss – to give those who cannot see equal access to the world’s visual culture and the opportunity to experience the life-enhancing power of art.
Through working with Art Beyond Sight, Tumblehome Learning will be able to produce braille and tacile books of Painting in the Dark so Esref’s inspirational story is accessible to all children. Special thanks to Art Beyond Sight for use of photos in this campaign video.