John Kerkmeester

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John was born in Newtown in 1956, and raised in Johnsonville. He has four sisters and two brothers – all seven of them born within a decade. John was born with Cerebal Palsy. His birth was complicated.

“There were two inexperienced nurses. I was deprived of oxygen. When I came out I was all blue. I was the first one to be born. My mother didn’t know what to expect. My other sister arrived a year later. She developed quickly. Then my mum had another baby and she developed quickly. I kept following my sisters but I fell over…..

I started walking at three years old.”

“I started drawing early on. I get periods of doing [art]. I’m feeling really good at the moment.”

 John has manic depression. He can do art when he’s manic but not when he’s depressive. He didn’t used to want to rely on medication.

“I didn’t used to think meds help. But since I’ve had periods in hospital, I’m convinced meds help.”
John is fond of his mother:

“Mum gave me a diary when I was 13 years old. Forty-six years later I’m still writing. I’ve got 43 diaries! I keep them in a shelf in my flat.”

John’s mum still lives in the same house that John was raised in. She’s lived there for 57 years. “That’s where I developed my love of gardening” – an inspiration for John’s artwork.



© Actionaut 2016