Emmanuel speaks about the following topics
Cultural roles and expectations at times come into conflict with understanding of disability. Rising above those expectations and challenges can come from harnessing the qualities within.
Emmanuel is a visual artist and humanitarian borned in Ghana. He was inspired to become a lived experience educator after realising that sharing his own story and experience of mental health could be a useful learning tool for others.
He hopes in sharing his story, he will add value through providing a cultural perspective on how to seek help and how he used art to develop resilience.
Emmanuel migrated to Australia with his mother and siblings in 2015. His father was already living and working in Sydney and convinced the family to join him. The family moved into rented accommodation in South West Sydney and Emmanuel went to the local high school. Art was the subject that he was really interested in. In his free time he enjoyed coaching kids’ soccer in the local park and spending time with his friend from Samoa who shared his interest in art.
When his father developed a serious medical condition that left him unable to work, the family circumstances changed dramatically and relationships were strained to breaking point. Emmanuel’s life became a daily struggle to maintain his connection to school and friends, and he became isolated, angry, deeply sad and unable to feel hope or see any future.
His recovery journey began with a conversation with one of his school teachers who advised him to channel feelings through art and assisted him to access to the school counsellor. This led to support from the community mental health team and then Headspace where he was assisted to access SSI Ability Links, and then the SSI Arts and Culture program. He continued to develop his visual art skills and produced highly regarded work influenced by his cultural background, Frida Kahlo and Abdul Abdullah.
In 2016, he won the Art for Planet Award from Campbelltown Council and he has recently been accepted to study fine arts at the National Art School. Emmanuel also has goals to develop his public speaking, business administration and leadership skills and his dream is to build a school in Ghana.View all speakers Book speaker