There are a number of articles online about a blind, Turkish painter, Eşref Armağan. born without eyes, including a short Wikipedia entry. Purportedly, he's able to create paintings with color and perspective, representing real-world images in a way that's recognizable to sighted people. One of these includes a painting of Bill Clinton:

Painting of Bill Clinton by Eşref Armağan

The explanations of his ability seem overly simplistic. They tend to state something along the lines of the visual center of his brain becoming active when he paints, using his sense of touch, smell, and knowledge gained from other people to do so.

I'm not convinced that description and practice, along with activity in the visual center of the brain, could allow a person who was blind from birth to create images with recognizably correct shape, color. light and shadow that are easily recognizable to a sighted person. The paintings aren't especially abstract. This seems very fishy to me.

Are there any scientifically rigorous sources backing up his claim?

  • What is this specific claim you want us to examine?
    – user5582
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 3:00
  • The last sentence in my question? Stated another way, Are Esref Aramagan's abilities as a painter a hoax?
    – KChaloux
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 3:13
  • Who has a New Scientist subsription?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 8:16
  • @Oddthinking Not me :(
    – KChaloux
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Oddthinking You Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


Yes, Eşref Armağan is a painter without properly developed eyes.

From http://rense.com/general62/see.htm, or http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524841.700:

Armagan was born 51 years ago in one of Istanbul's poorer neighbourhoods. One of his eyes failed to develop beyond a rudimentary bud, the other is stunted and scarred. It is impossible to know if he had some vision as an infant, but he certainly never saw normally and his brain detects no light now.

  • So... can he paint pictures of people without anyone directing him? How does he choose colours?
    – nico
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 7:03
  • Let's talk about this in chat.
    – user5582
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03

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