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Lonnie Smith knew his son was talented at a very young age. His son Kambel Smith has autism and for a long time struggled with understanding his son.
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According to MSN, Kambel as a young kid would draw pictures and hide them inside a vent. The sketches were of a superhero named “Survivor” that he created. When his dad saw them he knew he wanted to get more exposure for his son.
At the age of 15, Kambel began taking art classes and did oil painting landscapes. As the paints and canvases ran out, Kambel decided to do more. He made large sculptures of buildings in Philadelphia from cardboard and foam he found in the trash.
Kambel, who is now 32, said, “I just show who I am.”
For years Lonnie tried to get his son noticed for his talent, but it wasn’t until last September when Kambel was outside his home spray-painting a massive piece of art. His neighbor, Barbara Gettes walked by and Lonnie spoke to her about his art work and background story.
After hearing the story and looking at all the artwork, Gettes said, “I had a great network of creative people, maybe somebody will know something.”
Through social media, Kambel was able to connect with a curator and months later his work was on display at the Elaine de Kooning House.
Kambel, who doesn’t speak out at much mentioned that he loved seeing his artwork on display. Lonnie hopes that his son can inspire other children living with autism and help people understand not to have judgement on those that are autistic.
Check out vintage photos of Black history being made in America below.
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