James Makuac



James Makuac was only 11 when he fled the gunfire of troops invading his Sudanese village in the Second Sudanese Civil War. One of thousands of of children displaced and orphaned by the violence, Makuac walked thousands of miles, through Ethiopia, to a refugee camp in Kenya, where he stayed for nine years.

Approximately 150 of these “Lost Boys of the Sudan” settled in Nashville. In 2006, the Frist Center for Visual Arts hosted an exhibition of works by self-taught painter Makuac and his fellow Lost Boy, Bol Biar.

The artist statement attached to this 2005 acrylic on canvas says, “After four months of starvation, we received food from the Red Cross. Planes came and dropped sorghum and beans. Later, we cut trees to make an airstrip so their planes could land, bringing us medicine and tents.”

Learn more about the Lost Boys Foundation of Nashville.


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