The Island of the Colorblind

The Island of the Colorblind.

This is an image from a series called ‘The Island of the Colorblind’. It pictures a colorblind boy sitting on a basketball post. This scene took place on a Micronesian island hidden deep in the Pacific.

In the late eighteenth century a catastrophic typhoon swept over Pingelap. One of the survivors, the king, carried the rare achromatopsia gene that causes complete colorblindness. The king went on to have many children and as time passed by, the hereditary condition affected the isolated community. Most islanders started seeing the world in black and white.

Achromatopsia is characterized by extreme light sensitivity, poor vision, and the complete inability to distinguish colors. In Micronesia achromats adapt to their reduced level of visual functioning (due lack of resourses like sunglasses and tinted lenses) by using visual strategies such as blinking, squinting, shielding their eyes, or positioning themselves in relation to light sources.

Portraying the islanders that by their fellow Micronesians are referred to as ‘blind’ resulted in a conceptual selection of images that mask their eyes, their face, or their ‘vision’ and invite the viewer to enter a dreamful world of colorful possibilities.