Migraine aura art
Do you have your own migraine aura art to share? Photos? Pictures that describe your clusters or chronic headaches? Visit our migraine, headache and art page!
Migraine aura art, and migraine art and photography in general, has developed into a whole artistic world. Drawings, paintings, and photography all bring us an understanding of migraine and migraine aura that we would never get from words alone. Songs and poetry are also a major part of the world of migraine art.
If you suffer from migraine attacks yourself, there's nothing like migraine art to show you that there really are others who "feel your pain". And those who have never had an attack can actually see the agony that a migraineur goes through.
Migraine aura describes many of the symptoms in the early stages of a migraine attack (often before a headache). Most often it's used to describe visual
disturbances - patients see zig zags or flashing lights, for example. Read more about the migraine aura here
Migraine aura art in history
We really don't know when the first migraineurs began to express their symptoms artistically. It's likely that their symptoms made their way into many paintings that were really focused on other topics. Experts today believe that some of the mystical paintings from medieval times were actually the "visions" that came along with a migraine attack.
Detail from Hildegard's "Scivias"
It's possible that Hildegard von Bingen
, or Saint Hildegard (1098-1179), expressed both religious beliefs and migraine auras with her art. Highly creative, the German abbess had visions from a young age. Though migraine certainly doesn't explain all her visions, many experts, including neurologist (and migraineur himself) Dr. Oliver Sacks
, have suggested that many of her paintings involve migraine aura art. Hildegard may have suffered from silent migraine
For more interesting facts about Hildegard von Bingen and other migraine art in history, check out Headache Through the Ages
by Dr. Seymour Diamond and Mary A. Franklin.
Migraine art was promoted in the last century by the late Derek Robinson. In the 1980s and continuing to this day, there have been art competitions in various parts of the world, focusing on migraine aura, pain, and the general impact migraine has on the lives of people, their friends and families. Exhibits of migraine art, both offline and on, have also been very popular. In a moment we will link to some of the art that has come from these competitions and exhibits, so you can see it for yourself.
Migraine and migraine aura art online
With the rise of the internet with personal websites and sites that share files, migraine art has flourished. Some people have carefully created very expressive art, and others have spontaneously shared what they feel through their drawings, paintings or photos.
These two pictures are a good example of migraine aura art - some migraineurs see zigzags in front of their eyes during the visual aura. Below, another image that looks confused. Aura sufferers often lose visual perspective, or even have parts of their visual field "blanked out" as you can see in this picture.
The caption reads,"This is how I see right before I get a migraine."
Photo courtesy of ganelleus.
Let's take a look at some of the excellent migraine art that's out there, including the winners of some are competitions. Beware, some of these pictures are understandably graphic.
Visit the migraine art museums!
We can't talk about migraine aura art these days without mentioning Dr Klaus Podoll from Germany. We are indebted to him for the research he has done and put online. Dr Podoll wrote to me at one point - you can read my answer here. He has discussed art, including music, and has put many excellent examples of migraine art online. Visit his site to read about The Migraine Art Concept.
Out of the United Kingdom, you can see some great works from the Migraine Art Competition. This collection courtesy of the Migraine Action Association.
In the USA, the National Headache Foundation has a large collection of migraine art online. See the winners from 2003, 2001 and 1998. If you're interested in aura, for example, check out the excellent painting by Maxine Bergh, Scotoma- The Abyssal Pain from the 2001 competition.
The American Council for Headache Education also has a gallery on their site. Visit the migraine art museum here.
Russian Artist Olea Nova has a set of migraine inspired paintings on her site. Her migraine artwork is available for purchase.
This is a good one. Dr. Timothy C. Hain has a set of art, specifically migraine aura art. He writes that "Migraine auras, which are often very colorful, structured, and have strong emotional connotations, have long been interesting to artists.".
Heather Powers is a photographer and migraineur we've mentioned here before. She took this photo which illustrates migraine aura.
A search on Flickr brings up a lot of people expressing their pain through art.
Photo courtesy of Breaking Windows 2.0
If you want to read more about migraine aura and related art, there's a book on the topic entitled Migraine Auras: When the Visual World Fails
by Richard Grossinger
. I also understand there is some migraine art in Oliver Sacks
' book Migraine
, though I haven't seen the newer edition.
Photo courtesy of littledan77Share your own migraine art here!