THEY look like the kind of innocent drawings that might be found in an artist’s scrapbook, but behind these fragile pencil sketches lies a story of great strength and experience.
When rock star Edwyn Collins emerged part-paralysed from the Royal Free Hospital he could no longer read, walk or write – his memories of a former life performing at major music festivals reduced to a distant dream following a major brain haemorrhage in 2005.
The former Orange Juice frontman, whose hit A Girl Like You stormed the charts in 1994, staged an emotional comeback gig last year at Glastonbury. And this week the 50-year-old revealed the secret of his “restoration”.
Mr Collins, who lives in West Hampstead with his partner Grace Maxwell, said: “Drawing was the first skill to come back to me after my brain haemorrhage and this meant a great deal as drawing has always been a passion. I am left to my own devices when I draw. I am in a world of my own. In fact, I believe that my real recovery began with my first bird drawing.”
Mr Collins rediscovered his love of wildlife illustration and childhood fascination with ornithology in the weeks after his discharge from hospital. Each day since he has opened a new page of the AA Book of British Birds and now his collection is being exhibited in an art therapy exhibition.
He is also back in the recording studio but still cannot use his right hand. He has taught himself to draw with his left hand.
The exhibition, curated by the charity Hospital Arts, opens in the First Floor Gallery at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital tomorrow (Friday) and runs until March.
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