BAYarts shares stroke story through Bill Forester's exhibition

Bill Forester works on his self-portrait for his "Facing Forward" gallery exhibition.

Six years ago, a stroke robbed artist Bill Forester of his voice, but his need to communicate and be understood remained. Forester found ways beyond words to give him a broader and more nuanced language of creative expression. Through painting the self-portrait, Forester has found his voice. 

"I died Aug. 17, 2009, in the evening. Before I died, I watched myself in my dresser mirror... I was grabbing things to make noise, because I realized I was talking, but no sound was coming from me. When I woke up, I didn't know what had happened. I was paralyzed. I could only manage a few words, with no sense of grammar. The doctors said, 'Bill is lost.' They wanted to know if I had a living will for organs."

This is what began a harrowing journey of life in the wake of this personal catastrophe.

This exhibition, titled "Facing Forward," represents a passage through the threshold of recovery and celebrates life and love as Forester faces forward.

"I feel a new artist was born by this tragedy," Forester said. "This show helps me to pass through a threshold of recovery, to express my gratitude for a life I love and to face forward fully and creatively self-expressed."

The exhibition is on display through July 2 in the Diane Boldman Education Gallery, open Monday-Saturday, 9-5 p.m. 


Jessica Stockdale


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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:46 AM, 06.07.2016