Priya Rama is a self-described “Migraine Artist.” The term means exactly what it implies—Rama suffers from chronic migraine headaches, but rather than allowing this condition to incapacitate her, she has learned to channel the experience, translating her pain into expressions of art. The result is intensely personal paintings and other works that have been exhibited and honored in dozens of shows around the country over the last several years. The painting, “Stars in my Embrace,” graces our cover for the April issue.
“I think of myself as an abstract expressionist, with my paintings highlighting a spontaneous, intuitive and personal mark-making,” she says. “Even though I wouldn’t call my paintings portraits, all of my works are self-portraits in a way. My art is part of me and I am part of my art.”
When a migraine comes on, eyes closed, Rama is able to “see”: “Colors and shapes flood my mind in fluid poetry. These mystical images recede, shift, radiate and pulse, becoming more vibrant and vivid as time goes on. Frequently, I paint through a migraine, trying to quickly tap into what I see. When I can’t, I am able to recall the imagery at a later time and commit that to canvas.”
It is a meditative and introspective process, in which the artist becomes one with her art. “My breathing slows down, my jaw unclenches, and my body slowly begins to relax. Often, completing a painting acts as a relief, and reminds me that my mind can do more than just process pain—it can transform pain into beauty.”
Fifty of Rama’s early paintings have been published in both hardcover and paperback editions by Pocamug Press, in a book titled, Migraine Visions: Transforming Pain Into Beauty. Rama is affiliated with a wide variety of Ohio-based arts organizations.
Priya Rama’s website: https://priyarama.com/
Priya’s work, along with that of many other artists, can be found at the Hayley Gallery https://www.localohioart.com/
Migraine Visions: Transforming Pain Into Beauty: https://www. amazon.com/Migraine-Visions-Transforming-Pain-Beauty/dp/ 0998479071