The Power of Art

A Washington, DC, artist and teacher is using his talents to help the bleeding disorders community.
Author: Beth Marshall

Chinedu Felix Osuchukwu is a visual artist and teacher with severe hemophilia A who lives in Washington, DC.

What first drew you to visual arts?
I’ve been doing my art for as long as I can remember. I was born in Washington, DC, and diagnosed about eight months after I was born. When I was 5, we moved to Nigeria. As a kid, I made Christmas cards and gave them to people, like my teachers and friends in the neighborhood. When I was around 11, my parents decided to bring us back to the US so my brother and I could get better care. I always wanted to be a boxer or do sports or something. But because of my hemophilia, I couldn’t do that. But I had this talent for art, and it became my passion.

How does your bleeding disorder influence your art?
I feel good that I can empower other people with hemophilia. Through my art, I’m able to share my story and not feel embarrassed about it. I’ve used parts of my factor box in some pieces. I also use a lot of red in my art. Red symbolizes pain to me. A lot of the time when I’m painting, I’m in pain. My art is more abstract and impressionist; I let my hand go. But I let the work show the level of pain that I’m feeling.

You teach visual arts. What do you get out of that?
I find it therapeutic for both my students and myself. I make sure that my students get a professional experience when it comes to art. For example, I just finished an art show at Howard University Science Center with my students and a curator who focused on interpreting science terms through art. My students had to create their own interpretation of  scientific terminology that most had not heard of. I like to make my students “visually intelligent.” For me it is rewarding to see when my students have taken what they learned in the class and run with it.

What would you like people in the community to know about why kids should get involved in arts?
I think art therapy can be really valuable to the hemophilia community. … You can really get in touch with how you’re feeling during the act of creation. I just think it can be a very healing process, both for people with hemophilia and for caregivers.

To see more of Felix Osuchukwu’s art, go to: osuchukwu.com