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IN People ON 15 Jan, 2015
"It is unbelievable how much strength the soul can impart to the body."
-Wilhelm von Humboldt
Doug Auld is NY-based artist, painter and musician, who now lives in New Jersey.
The inspiration for this project called the State of Grace, Dough says was a little encounter more than 30 years ago. He saw a young girl who was a burn victim. She must have been in a tragic fire accident because all of her features were dismembered. Her scars were so deep that you could see through. He wanted to see away, but couldn't. She looked him in the eye and then turned her back and walked away. This moved him. He then felt guilty for staring at her.
After years, he presented his plan to paint burn survivors to Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. They agreed to be a part of his project. He called it the State Of Grace. He says that this project was his attempt to discover and understand the parameters of beauty in our society.
"Science has determined that what we call 'beauty,' is determined by angles, measurements and symmetry of features. However, non physical 'human' traits such as personality, inner strength, confidence, and character can redefine our perception of who we find to be beautiful."
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. It must have been a challenge to paint scars. The stories and the art down here will only leave you inspired.
These beautiful people are strong enough to come over so much in life- losing loved ones, living the hard way of being aware of 'self', surviving pain and scars. Then, my friend you and I have so much to learn from them. Come, let's have a look.
To know more about Doug, visit his website.
Rebecca and Louise are two sisters who were caught in their second story house fire. While they survived the fire, their aunt, grandfather and three other sister could not. Both these beautiful ladies, consider this as a blessing from God. Though their lives are changed forever but now, they can help other people and inspire their lives. Rebecca is a Pre-Law Student and Louise is a graduate in Psychology.
A tragic fire broke in the freshman dormitory of Seton Hall University on an early morning of January 20, 2000. The fire was brought under control in 10 minutes, but as many as 50 students were injured, 3 were killed and 5 were severely burnt. One of them was Alvaro, only 21 years old. When he was brought at the hospital, his burns only implied little chance of survival. He was then induced in a coma through injection of morphine. After this, followed a painful process of recovery. With this experience, Alvaro who as aspired a career in computer science, now helps people to recover from their burns and trauma injuries with the help of physical therapy.
This wonderful little girl was only 5 years old when her brother accidently dropped a cigarette lighter on her bed, setting her ablaze. Her whole body survived burns, but she lost her fingers and her ability to have children. Shayla is a young girl, only 14. She is a top student in her class. She is good in academics and crafts, she also plays piano. She aspires to be a stylist when she grows up.
Fernando was with his friends on the new year's eve 2005. Somehow he lost the grip on his vehicle and slammed the car into a utility pole. Before he knew, the car was on fire. His two friends managed to escape real quick while he was trapped. When he jumped out, his hands and head had survived major injuries and burns. His arms were nearly amputated.
Jelani was only 14 when he was babysitting his two younger brothers. It was already dark, so they were all sleeping. Suddenly he was awake because a strong pungent smell, coming from the hall. To his surprise, the carpet was on fire. He managed to get his brothers out of his second story apartment, but he was trapped. He had no choice but to jump down from the window, through the massive fire to save his life. This young man jumped down, broke both his legs and survived severe burns. He lost one of his legs to amputation, thereafter.
Adam was with friends, they were creating a paintball fort in the woods. So, this early evening they started a camp fire. Suddenly, one of the friends, but a Gasoline shovel into the fire. The gas exploded and the fire was all over Adam. Burning Adam, ran through the woods to his home. There is father put down the fire in the bathtub. He was hen taken to the hospital and was induced under coma for three log weeks. He is now a healthy boy, who grows his hair long and donates them to cancer patients.
Maria was supposedly very young when she, her mother and younger sister were caught in a house fire. In fact, the artist says that she has no recollection whatsoever of the incident. This is because due to smoke, her brain could not receive the proper amount of oxygen. Since then, Maria keeps on forgetting things. Thier father was out for some work, when the fire broke. Maria was the only one to survive, so his father took very good care of her in the hospital. He also met Maria's new mom, who was a nurse at the burn center. Maria is coping up with the incident slowly and gradually.
Nelson lived with his family in the second story house. When the fire broke, Nelson, his parents and his younger brother were all asleep. Nelson's mother was shaken by the sudden fire attack. She tried very hard to wake her husband, but as a heavy-sleeper as he was he didn't move. In panic, she jumped out of the bedroom window and encouraged Nelson and his brother to jump too. Nelson's younger brother jumped in the arms of his mother, who broke her both legs. But, it was too late for Nelson to jump, the room was ablaze, suddenly a hot ball of fire exploded, throwing him out of the window. He survived major burns on his back. His father could not survive the attack.
Jabril came back from school one fine afternoon. He used to live in a third story apartment. Alone in his room, he started playing with matchsticks. Before he knew it, his shirt was on fire. Panic stricken as he was, he ran down three stories engulfed in flames. Someone then relieved him off fire. His whole body had burns all over them.
Maha was in set ablaze by her own father. The painting and project was documented and featured on national television throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Mother caught fire on Christmas, when she was carrying out some errands near the fireplace at the house. Panic-stricken she kept running all over the place. Her beautiful daughter came close and hugged her close in an attempt to calm her down and put off the fire. They both survived burns, but their realtionship touched a whole new level.
Bryan was 14 when he hand his friends were playing a game of Molotov cocktail, at the basketball court. Somehow, his shirt was set on fire. He was immediately provided help. Bryan has since recovered and become a physician assistant for a pediatric heart surgeon, providing compassionate post surgery care for his patients.