Art, Art and Disabilities, Down syndrome, poetry, visual poetry

The Poetry of Injury: Inside Down Syndrome & Kimani


Kimani is a four-year-old girl with Down syndrome and a brain injury. She is visually impaired, wildly impulsive, and very cute. She is unable to express herself with words, and thus I am left to wonder about her…

Always I wonder what she sees, what she knows. Always I wonder who she is on the inside.

If I could paint her brain it would look like this…

poetry of injury

And if I could paint her heart, it would look like this…

poetry of injury

And if I could paint her soul, it would look like this…

And if I could paint a little Kimani inside herself, it would look like this…

poetry of injury

But I did not paint those pictures. It was Kimani who painted herself from the inside out.

Post by The Unknown Contributor. Reprinted with permission.

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Your Comments

10 Comments so far

  1. TUC, every time I look at this, I think I can figure out what, or how, she did it. And then I look at it again and see how the straight lines split and peel back, or the part that looks like a fist, or the tiny bit of orange emerging at the bottom and I know I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.

    Good golly. I could look at this all night. I’d be just as amazed six hours from now.

  2. L. L. Barkat says:

    Just beautiful. Truly. Your words, a poem. Her painting, a poem without words.

  3. Daniel Niblock says:

    This is beautiful and remarkable artwork. Each one is a masterpiece.

  4. Karen Swallow Prior says:

    Wow. I did not see that coming. Just wow.

  5. Donna says:

    Every time I see this I am speechless. In January it blew me away. And now, again in March. I am looking forward to this book….

    • L. L. Barkat says:

      The book is Gillian Marchenko’s. :)

      This post is by another parent, but it is a view into that world, which we feel is powerful and a great introduction to what will be coming from Gillian.

      • Donna says:

        Ahhhhh …. gotcha! Looking forward to Gillian’s book. This post… just amazing. Every time I look at the images I notice something else inside.


  1. Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Michael's Colors | - October 8, 2013

    [...] See Kimani’s Art. Kimani is a child with Down syndrome and a severe brain injury. [...]

  2. Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Uncovering Pure Joy | - October 29, 2013

    [...] at their sisters, they don’t see Down syndrome at all… they see only Masha, or Autumn, or Kimani. They see people, not a syndrome, and when that happens for you, I will know that I have done my job [...]

  3. Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Lunch at Pizza Hut - - October 3, 2014

    […] Creative Commons, via Flickr. In-post photo from The Unknown Contributor, with her daughter Kimani. Kimani lives with Down syndrome and a severe brain injury. Story by The Unknown […]

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