Painting Depicts Life with Brain Injury

Joshua Russell-Douglas, who painted the picture when he was 11, depicts his life with brain injury.

The paintings of many 11-year-olds are most likely displayed on a refrigerator at the house of a family member. However, Joshua Russell-Douglas achieved something that older and far more established artists can only dream of – having his art on display at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London.

According to an article I saw on Edinburgh News, “Joshua volunteered to paint a picture for the Child Brain Injury Trust [so he could] 1. show what life was like with an acquired brain injury, and 2. explain the difficulties he has in processing information at the same speed as other children. His own injury came about after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of three, and as part of his three-and-a-half-year high-dose chemotherapy regime, methotrexate was put into his spine and directly accessed his central nervous system.”

After the treatment a neuropsychologist revealed Joshua had an acquired brain injury and referred the family to the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT).

Joshua’s mom, Sally, was initially reluctant to let her son take part in the CBIT art project, but she allowed it after considering how much CBIT had done for her son.

Sally says her son is, at first glance, like any other child, but his lack of social contact during his treatment and the brain injury, which slows his responses and alters his perception of situations, have left him having difficulty in keeping up with his peers.

That said, she describes him as “a tenacious, determined young man who, when he puts his mind to something, doesn’t stop until he achieves it” and who loves art, probably as there is no right and wrong and he can be “expressive and free”.

As for why he chose a maze for the project, she explains: “It’s like the question is at the front of his mind but all the answers are at the back, and it’s not that he doesn’t want to answer, it’s just that the answer takes an awful long time to travel from the back to the front. To him all the information gets muddled in his mind and he is constantly 
scrambling trying to find the right piece.”

Click here to read the complete article.


Click here to read another Beyond Injury post.

Thank you to Child Brain Injury Trust for providing its services and encouragement to children with brain injury; Edinburgh News for dedicating its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.


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