Dan Rhema, an international development worker, arrived at the hospital with his brain on fire. The three strains of dengue fever, he contracted in Mexico, had morphed into the deadly combination of meningoencephalitis—both his brain and his spinal fluid were infected. That evening, as the doctors fought to save his life, Dan left his body and began an unexpected journey to the other side.
One week later, he was released from the hospital, just not as the Dan Rhema who had entered. The near-death experience and the damage to his brain left him with gaping holes in his memory and a loss of his identity.
Dan spent most of the next three years asleep. Otherworldly visual images flowed out of his dreams. During his waking hours, a creative compulsion took over his life. He began to sculpt and paint the visions he encountered in the night.
Dan had two choices: to continue hoping that, one day, he would regain his lost memories and his old life, or to embrace the newfound creativity and follow it wherever it would lead. He chose to begin anew and follow the healing journey of the dreams.
Praise for I Close My Eyes to See
Death's pathway led him to worlds beyond this one, opening up realities quite impossible to describe.
It's almost as if your heart can "taste" what he is saying.
-- P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., author of Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story, and The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences
Dan's narrative is his art, spanning earth fire to infinite stars, mothers and fathers to searchers and beasts, light awaiting, light beyond.
His art -- his story -- ought to be seen. Heard. Experienced.
-- Mark Shepherd, Santa Monica
Senior lecturer, University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television
... as classic as a cave painting and as hip as the found objects that he assembles into magnificent images.
-- Michael Blowen, former film critic for the Boston Globe
Words seem so inadequate when it comes to describing the emotions that are stirred in viewing these works...
Marybeth Orton, MA, ATR-BC, LPAT Licensed Professional Art Therapist
... a tale for our times as wondrous as it is utterly terrifying.
-- Joe Henry, singer-songwriter and Grammy winning music producer.
... in an attempt to explain — to himself and others — what had happened to him. It turned out art was his language as well as his healer.
-- Jo Anne Triplett, LEO Magazine
... through words and art, Dan’s struggle is felt deeply and is clearly a genuine self-exploration. One does not come across such authentic pieces of art often...
-- Liz Beck, Art Therapy Blog
NeuroScience in Art Therapy Research Group
My name is Amanda Alders. Since graduating with my Master's degree in Art Therapy, I have been maintaining this site as a way to post information of interest. The posts are spontaneous and according to when I come across new findings. Feel free to e-mail me with information that you would like posted or with questions.