november is national epilepsy awareness month.
this is a time to bring to light one of the most misunderstood/dismissed illnesses + celebrate the strength of those who fight every day to survive with the condition. as an epileptic myself, i can testify to just how much of a struggle it is to live with this condition, and how frustrating it can be to see the lack of awareness and visibility. people with illness — and in particular, epileptics — are one of the most underrepresented demographics in art spaces and media; in effort to combat that, i would like to open an art jam for this month that invites epileptics, as well as others with chronic conditions, to create work in a space that values their voices. creating important work, interacting with one another, and sharing our strength are all essential acts with immense power that can change the future of our places in society.
what is epilepsy?
epilepsy is a medical condition in which a person has a tendency to experience seizures, which are usually triggered by a particular stimulus or event. most people associate seizures with thrashing and tongue-biting, but there are dozens of kind of epilepsy, and many of them don’t involve convulsions. (Many involve altered mental states and physical tics.) epilepsy can develop at any age and can be attributed to a number of factors, including genetics, strokes, head injury, and more. along with seizures, epileptics experience varying degrees of anxiety, depression, PTSD, medication side-effects, and more. epilepsy incredibly underdiagnosed and dismissed, and many medical professionals have admitted that they know next to nothing about it. risk of sudden death among epileptics is 24 times greater than the general population, and epileptics are particularly partial to suicide attempts. it is a truly dangerous and underestimated condition, and it takes great strength to even survive it.
who’s hosting this?
i’m iasmin omar ata, an epileptic comics artist and game designer. i create art about multiple facets of identity — including my own experience and thoughts as a nonbinary, middle eastern muslim in art spaces — and most prominently i aim to make work that speaks about epilepsy, illness, and trauma. my graphic novel, mis(h)adra, was just released this october and dives deeply into the ups and downs of the day-to-day life of epileptics. i believe very deeply in the power of art as catharsis, and i encourage others to wield the powerful mediums of comics and games to bring forth healing in their own lives and make their important voices heard.
when does the jam close?
works should be submitted by noon on November 20th, 2017.
why is the jam open to creators with conditions that are not necessarily epilepsy?
through my experiences writing about epilepsy, i’ve found that other people with illness have related greatly to my work even if the condition isn’t the same as my own. i am by no means trying to lump all illnesses together or imply that they should be treated all the same, but rather have work about epilepsy be the focal point of a space while allowing it to be a jumping off point for others with illness to create work that can resonate with epileptics and other people with illness alike. in addition, while some epileptics have a diagnosis, many others do not because of the medical field's lack of knowledge or refusal to listen to possibly epileptic patients. epilepsy takes many forms and many people who experience symptoms of epilepsy don't know what it is or can't get a confirmation from a doctor. i would like the jam to welcome these people as well.
what are the general rules?
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org / message me on tumblr (iasminomarata) / tweet at me (@DELTAHEAD_)