Written by April Hasson
Kennedy Ng’ang’a, an artist from Kenya, specializes in acrylic paintings depicting wildlife and scenes of his native Africa. Once an avid swimmer, Mr. Ng’ang’a suffered a spinal cord injury in 1992 while diving. Following this, Mr. Ng’ang’a father and brother died pushing Kennedy into depression and igniting his creative outlets to cope.
In 2002 someone saw his work and provided Kennedy a teacher to instruct him on the basics of art. He continued to paint and his mother became his primary caregiver, until her death in 2012, which left him with no immediate family. Mr. Ng’ang’a established The Momma Kennedy Fund in her memory with the purpose of bringing change to the local community, especially disabled children from marginalized areas.
Kennedy paints to earn a living and advance the build of an accessible home where he hopes to gain independence in a safe environment and prove that his disability is only a different kind of ability. His goal is to become a successful artist by continuing to sell his paintings to collectors who admire his colorful abstract and realist conceptions.
In December 2012, BACKBONES connected Kennedy with Jerry McGill, author and SCI peer supporter. Jerry was able to visit Kennedy from Portland, OR and include his story in his upcoming book. As part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, KennedyNg’ang’a will be one of four featured artists in the show “Unbroken: Art After Injury”, at Next Door Café.
For more information on Kennedy Ng’ang’a, please visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KennedyNgangaArtworkAndDesign