As a self-taught artist, my most significant source of inspiration is the unforgiving nature of life itself–to overcome odd challenges in the pursuit of safety and comfort. In life, I live art. I struggle at attempts to place it aside. With each new artistic accomplishment, my life has experienced positive and lasting change that continues to motivate me to create more.
As young boy in a Dinka village in Sudan, I made toys of clay soil for entertainment. I never anticipated that I would eventually learn three-dimensional computer modeling techniques. At the age of six, I used art to record a personal dairy as civil war tore apart my village, separated me from my family and exposed me to different countries and harsh wilderness (as one of 35,000 children known as the Lost Boys of Sudan). Despite my young age, my mind still retains all of the snapshots and nightmares that clung to my eyes, especially the everyday battles between real-world predators, the unforgettable final memory of my village and the cruel acts of the government. I illustrated many of these events with stick figures drawn in charcoal and natural pigments upon walls, cardboard, soil and any other available surface in the refugee camp.
My drawings provided clear explanations of our hardships to journalists visiting the camp that couldn’t understand our language. After the start of my basic schooling, my creativity flourished through imagination, memory and observation. Colored pencil became my primary medium. My skill was always recognized and implemented to illustrate educational images and scientific diagrams at school, local emblems, demonstration aides and contagious disease awareness posters for the community.
Upon coming to United States in 2001, my involvement with art increased as I explored new art materials and sources of inspiration. I continued painting, working particularly in acrylic on canvas, cardboard and river rock prior to taking classes at the Ohio State University. I excelled at painting animals from my native African home, vividly capturing the beauty and variety of African scenery and its interplay with its wildlife. My technique of painting rocks with the forms of animals, people, things or ideas began while I was still in Africa. The rocks are painted in keeping with their three-dimensional appearance. In Nashville, my work gained huge momentum, culminating in the illustration of a four-month exhibition at the Frist Museum of Visual Art. My exhibited series, titled “Imperceptible Misery,” depicted the exodus of the Sudanese Lost Boys. The exhibition was a wonderful chance for the city to think more deeply about the ongoing crisis around the world and the importance of diversity within Nashville. This series continues to serve as a reminder to myself about my struggle and the misfortune of fellow friends and brothers as a result of war. It embodies the unseen suffering of the past and the passion I see within the eyes’ of friends and viewers today–as if they were with me during those days.
My artwork predominately functions as a universal language spoken in a new community to share a message that extends beyond what words can express
My current art intertwines traditional and modern techniques in conjunction with visual and conceptual aspects. I have immersed myself into art culture to examine the relationship between various media, possibilities, values, nature, diversity, culture and development in art. I am investigating art-making traditions to with multiple goals in mind. Most importantly, I am analyzing how society changes through art.
I see the positive impact of digital media in my current work as I execute various renderings using traditional styles. The enrichment of digital media has stimulated my mind, particularly in dealing with all available chances, ongoing theories, practical and trans-formative concepts and all other types of visual work. The enjoyment and excitement of seeing things in unique perspectives, especially with computer modeling, four-dimension video and two-digital image manipulation fuels my current art exploration.