I was born in Jonglei, a region in South Sudan. In 1987, I was forced to flee my homeland at the age six. Without parents, I fled to Ethiopia, and then to Kenya due to the outbreak of civil and religious war. I was one of the 35,000 wandering children that became known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. We roamed the land until we were accepted into an Ethiopian Refugee camp. After four years in Ethiopia, our journey continued onward to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. By the time of our acceptance into the camp, our group had diminished to 16,000 children. Many of the young boys on the journey had died from starvation, wild animals, swollen rivers, and gunfire. This is where I received minimal schooling. Without instruction, I developed my skills as an artist during nine-years stay. Nashville Tennessee, become my new home after this period of my life.I paint from imagination,
I paint from imagination, observation and memory. Most of my work is about Africa, especially native African animals and scenery. I primarily paint with oil, acrylic on canvas, paper, and river rock.
Many of my painting tells the story of the Lost Boys, which I call “The Journey of Hope”. “Painting the obstacles that we faced is very difficult, but I think of it as an opportunity to reflect on God’s provision to us during that time”. I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2009, where I majored in Fine Art. I returned to my home in South Sudan in 2007 and 2010. My cousin Jok Dau and I founded a Buckeye Health Clinic in our village to provide maternal and child health services. We have helped raise over $400,000, built two buildings, hired staff, and vaccinated over 600 children. For my community service, I was the recipient of the Robert Dunkin Alumni Award from The Ohio State University Alumni Association in 2016. I live in Columbus Ohio with my wife, daughter and 3 sons.
I have also written a book, The Journey of Hope, which details the many challenges I faced after I fled my village until I was resettled as a refugee unaccompanied minor, in the United States. I have shared my story with elementary, middle and high school students, and at universities in Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. I have also been the keynote speaker at the Ohio Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages annual conference, and the Lakeside Chautauqua, Peace and Justice week program.