The civil war in Sudan between the Khartoum-based government in the north and African civilians in the south had been raging for years, but gained momentum in the late 1980s. James Makuac was only eleven years old, and his friend Bol Biar Aweng was six when they fled their village in southern Sudan under gunfire from northern troops.
Too young to fight, but old enough to run, these children were led out of their village by elders, who hoped to save the lives of these young boys. James and Bol eventually joined over 35,000 other Sudanese boys who walked a thousand miles into Ethiopia, and then to Kenya, where they spent nine years in a U.N. refugee camp.
On their journey, about half the children—named the Lost Boys of Sudan—died from disease, starvation, and attacks from wild animals and hostile soldiers. Eventually, refugee resettlement organizations in America brought 3,600 Lost Boys to the United States. Of that number, about one hundred and twenty have settled in Nashville. Lost Boys of Sudan features paintings by self-taught artists James Makuac and Bol Biar, who first began to chronicle their experience while living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
This exhibition was located in the Conte Community Arts Gallery.