London-based artist Sarah Ezekiel has won international recognition for her vivid, life-affirming images. But her work is all the more remarkable for the fact that she has a medical condition that has left her unable to move her arms.
Ezekiel’s pictures are painstakingly produced, stroke by deliberate stroke, using the movement of her eyes and specialized technology that relays those movements to a computer.
Ezekiel showed no signs of the condition until 2000, when she was aged 34. Pregnant with her second child, she noticed some weakness in her left arm and that she was slurring her speech. Within months, she was diagnosed with ALS.
It’s a condition that affects one in 50,000, according to the ALS Association, and for which there is no known cure.
“My life was pretty normal before,” she says. “I was a full-time mum (and) used to cook, clean and go to the gym regularly.”
She describes her first five years living with ALS as a “bleak wilderness” and “very lonely.” Today, she can neither speak nor move but says “technology has made my life worth living.”