When Edward McLaughlin, an internationally esteemed engineer and amateur artist, received a diagnosis of dementia in 2002, he retreated for a long time into inactivity and depression.
When he eventually took up art again he discovered to his amazement that he now saw the world and in particular colours quite differently. A series of vibrant portraits gave expression to his new visual sensibility and contrasted markedly with the meticulous pencil drawings typical of his work before diagnosis.
His work maintained its celebration of colour as it evolved into an exploration of his own subjective experience. His art has been lauded as a vivid insight into the inner life of someone with dementia but it is even more than that. With its illumination of the complexity and shifting nature of individual identity and its meditation on human consciousness it is suffused with universal messages and questions. Essentially it asks us what it means to be human.