Sourced: University School

by Delia Seigenthaler, art teacher

The Tibbott Center Gallery is pleased to present My Life Before: A Story of War and Refuge, the Paintings of James Kuol Makuac.

One of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, 38-year old James Makuac was one of the 36,000 boys driven from their villages in South Sudan in 1987 as a result of civil war. At the age of 11, traveling thousands of miles over the next years, he suffered from starvation and unspeakable violence. He eventually was able to emigrate to the United States in 2001.

Makuac created a book of his paintings to give his mother when he was finally able to meet her again after twenty years. The exhibit at USN will feature 25 prints of paintings that tell the story of his incredible journey.

“We emigrated from a beautiful land that only blessed us with extreme hardship,” says Makuac. “We are called the Lost Boys because we were forced as children to flee our villages and families. We ran for our lives through the jungle and desert, across three countries to escape civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. This war continues to this day. It is important to paint the horrors of war as if it is a beautiful flower. Our life before the war was like a beautiful garden.”

James will be speaking with USN art students about his experiences as a refugee of Sudan’s civil war and his life here in Nashville. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at the Tibbott Center Gallery at University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Avenue, Thursday March 6, from 5-7:00 pm.