Six years on from his death, the life and legacy of the blind artist is revisited in a new exhibition. STEVE PILL celebrates his visionary paintings and remarkable will to create.
The opening minutes of Peter Mann's wonderful 2006 film about his late father, the artist Sargy
Mann, are something of an emotional rollercoaster. Opening on a black screen, we hear a recording of Sargy's gentle, otherworldly voice confirm that it is 30 May 2005 and today marks "the end of vision". His eyesight had been deteriorating for more than 30 years, following cataracts and retinal detachments, and he had awoken
to experience total blindness for the very first time. "I presume I won't be painting any more pictures," he says, seemingly in a state of shock.
Before one can even begin to contemplate the sheer injustice of
an artist being robbed of his most valuable sense, his voice begins again. Nine days have passed and Sargy describes "the most perfect, soft summer morning" as he settles down to paint.