Our new exhibition is from Ilkley based artist Mark Chappell. Mark has been living with Aphasia, a brain injury that effects communication, following a stroke in 2012. He uses art, including augmented reality animations, as a way to share his experiences.

At the launch event on 7 February, Mark, with help of his partner Caroline, shared his thoughts on why it is important to raise awareness of this little known condition. You can read the text of Mark’s speech below and here is his introduction.

THEM THAT SHOUT THE LOUDEST GET HEARD

Or in the case of those with Aphasia, we cannot shout as many of us cannot talk! We often disappear into the background and into our own little world. 

Did you know that Aphasia is an impairment of language? It may affect the ability to speak, to read, to write, to comprehend. 

Aphasia is life changing. Whether it is caused by a stroke, brain injury or a neurodegenerative disease which may cause cognitive problems. 

People with Aphasia caused by a stroke or brain injury have a language disability, it does not affect our intelligence. 

So, we are not drunk, we may struggle to order a cup of coffee, we might not be able to read and we may not be able to share our feelings. 

There is no doubt that there is limited support in the UK for those with Aphasia especially in the north in cities like Bradford. There is also a limited number of NHS Speech and Language Therapists which makes the ones we do have, all the more valuable. 

For those with Aphasia fortunate enough to have resources and support systems in place, life and treatment can be very different to those who are struggling alone with Aphasia.

Communication is what keeps us all connected. Without communication our wellbeing and sense of self can be badly affected

This is why Mark wants to hold this Aphasia exhibition. Without more people being aware of Aphasia and its life changing impact, no progress will be made. He wants to open the door and allow others to walk through it and develop their knowledge and experience of this isolating condition.  

Celebrities like Bruce Willis and Chris Kamara have also opened their doors into their Aphasia and Apraxia. By doing so they have a huge audience to raise awareness of these speech conditions. Not many have heard of these conditions. That needs to change. 

Mark isn’t qualified or able to answer your medical questions about Aphasia, but what he does have is over a decade of experience of living daily with Aphasia.     

Those with Aphasia may not be able to shout the loudest but this is Mark’s attempt to get the word Aphasia out there in Bradford using his art to express himself. There is more to communication than talking. 

Mark Chappell: Say Aphasia is open at Kala Sangam until 30 April. It is free to view Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm and Sat 9am – 3pm.

You can find more information and support at SayAphasia.org

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