The 5th Annual Hidden Truths, the Mind Unraveled — a collaboration between Hidden Truths Project (HTP) and the Epilepsy Foundation — was held at the Gray Matter Museum of Art in Costa Mesa, California on October 8th. The “Art of Epilepsy” was exhibited to a crowd of over 200 guests and featured 13 artists from around the globe. The event generated over $55,000 for research to expedite new therapies for those who continue to suffer with epilepsy.
Dr. Julie Thompson-Dobkin, TKI’s Director of Studies and chair of the event, reflected on the successes of HTP’s work over the past year.
“Hidden Truths Project has gained new inroads domestically and on the global front over the past year. As a result of 2015’s Mind Unraveled, the National Institutes of Health hosted a smaller version of the ‘Art of Epilepsy.’ In addition, several works of art from prior exhibits were featured in a PBS documentary released in May 2016, Seized: Inside the Mystery of Epilepsy. Neurology Now, a resource magazine for patients with neurological conditions distributed to doctors offices across the nation, ran a feature story on Hidden Truths in the August/September 2016 edition. Extending the public outreach, two art installations of the ‘Art of Epilepsy’ have been completed in Memorial Care Imaging Center and InVision Imaging Center in southern California with a 3rd currently underway.”
Dr. David Millett, a local epileptologist instrumental in the development of the USC Comprehensive Consortium, was honored at the event. Dr. Millett has been crucial in creating a care network for epilepsy patients covering the entire socio-economic and age spectrum in Southern California. Along with his team of experts, the Hoag Epilepsy Program achieved a Level 3 status by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This accreditation recognizes the Hoag program as having one of the highest level of medical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
Along with recognizing the needs of our local epilepsy population, this year’s event highlighted the ability of art to function as a collective voice in the fight for epilepsy.
Now in its 5th year, HTP has attracted over 230 artists living with epilepsy, representing all corners of the world including, Australia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the U.K, Ireland, Canada, Jamaica, Sweden, Mexico and the U.S. The common thread is the stories shared by these artists vis-à-vis their underlying medical condition. The art becoming a voice to combat the prejudice, misunderstanding, stigma, bias, and discrimination they experience, whether residing in a developing country or a more developed nation.
When art is created by those intimately affected by epilepsy, the unique perspective reflected through their work is better able to transmit the true nature and emotional impact of living with this condition. Art has become the bridge between these artists and the rest of humanity. With the success of art to educate and create understanding, this model has continued to expand to other socially challenging situations including homelessness, the impact of living in poverty, and in the upcoming year will extend its outreach addressing racial discrimination in our local schools and community.
“All of my art, whatever medium, is influenced mostly by curiosity, creativity, and observing the natural forces of this life. One of these forces is epilepsy, which allows me to see life as no one else does, and to integrate this vision into my art with a personal touch.” A. C.
Artists credit: Andy Wild, Anthony Brigance-Cook