The trained secondary school teacher resorted to painting remarkable works of art with his mouth in the aftermath of losing much of his dexterity and use of his legs in a car crash. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports
After sustaining a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident in 2015, Canada-based Motswana, Wilson Libita, found solace in art.
The injury left him paralysed from the chest down (quadriplegic), which meant that he lost use of his legs, has limited dexterity with his hands and uses only his mouth to paint exceptional art pieces that leave people in awe.
The 40-year-old artist told Time Out in an interview: “After the accident I moved to the North Bay City in Ontario the same year to join my wife who was already based here. When the accident happened, my son was only 8 months old. As we speak, I have two more children both born after the accident.”
Art as a pastime
The native of Parakarungu in the Chobe District is a self-taught artist who started painting with his mouth in October last year as a pastime. One day he decided to post his works on the Internet and they garnered rave reviews, with some people encouraging him to pursue the craft more seriously.
The month of October marks his first anniversary in mouth painting.
Said Libita: “It was a challenge at first trying to hold the paint brushes and at one point I nearly gave up. From a young age I enjoyed drawing with pencils, especially people’s portraits, but I never worked with paint at this scale. To polish my skills up, I would watch other artists’ videos on YouTube on how to work with paint.”
Libita subsequently opened his own You Tube channel styled “Wilson Libita Art” where he demonstrates how he does his work. However, he has not held any exhibitions yet but they are in his plans of the future. He says creating artwork is therapeutic and helps him forget his problems as he gets focused entirely on what he is doing.
After finishing his secondary school at Masunga Senior, Libita was admitted to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and English at the University of Botswana in 2002. He worked as a teacher in 2008 until 2015 when sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident.
“I mostly do my work at night when the children have gone to bed to avoid them distracting me,” he told Time Out. “The disadvantage here is that when I accidentally drop something on the floor, there no one to pick it up for me or me pick it up. Even so, I enjoy my work tremendously.”