Aphasia: Neurological Disorder in Text and Image is Jane Armstrong and Christopher Taylor’s multi-media exhibition on display from Oct. 23, 2015 – April 29, 2016, on the 2nd floor of the Riles Bldg., on the NAU campus.

The exhibition features Armstrong’s short essays about her experience suffering from the neurological disorder aphasia (the inability to express and comprehend language) with Taylor’s paintings in response to Armstrong’s words. Armstrong says “Since aphasia is a condition in which words fail, I propose that visual expression is required to complete the picture of what it feels like to live with neurological disease.”

This innovative exhibition crosses the boundaries of what traditional art and traditional literature is expected to do. Using text as object, words as signifiers and art as narrative, the exhibition conveys a greater feeling and experience than a mere reading or art showing could accomplish. The personal expression of a neurological disorder becomes universally understandable on a number of cognitive and emotional levels as it conveys meaning on a threshold of visual and literary worlds. The relevance of this experimental form is crucial in Flagstaff, as society in general becomes more accustomed to multi-media and multi-genre formats. It is also extremely effective in creating empathy for a disorder that is not often spoken about or understood.

Aphasia exhibition by Jane Armstrong & Christopher Taylor. Photo by Taylor Mahoney

Aphasia exhibition by Jane Armstrong & Christopher Taylor. Photo by Taylor Mahoney

The project received 2015 Faculty Grants funding and Office of the Vice President for research funding from Northern Arizona University. The opening reception was the largest the Riles Building had ever had for any of its exhibitions before.

Comment from a visitor:
Aphasia: Neurological Disorder in Text and Image, is the most exciting, technically superior, ground-breaking and emotionally-moving exhibition I have seen this year in Flagstaff. It is personal in a way that is universally understood. It moves Flagstaff’s artistic sophistication forward like none other.”

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