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'Painting helps me cope with sickle cell'

Dream exhibition:Ade Olubumi

A SICKLE cell sufferer who says painting helps him cope with the disease is to exhibit dozens of his works next Monday (Dec 19).

Ade Olubumi told The Voice he is on a high after hearing his work, a mix of portraits and abstract paintings, will be exhibited at the East Gallery in Brick Lane, east London, on December 19.

“Painting is a life long dream,” said Olubumi, from Hackney in east London.

He said painting helps him better cope with having sickle cell anaemia.

The debilitating disease is an inherited blood disorder, and Olubumi often needs blood transfusions.

The 33-year-old also had a hip replacement, but he said he is thankful for his blessings.

“I wake up every morning and l can’t afford to take life for granted. I cherish even the mundane things such as breathing or walking,” he said. “I taught myself to draw and it has been a good thing in my life. I paint almost every day... I do abstract painting and it helps with what I am going through.”

Strong image: Ade's portrait of Barack Obama

Olubumi said he uses a lot of numbers in his paintings because he believes they are significant.

He also likes to paint portraits of high profile people such as Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton, and US President Barack Obama. He said he believes Obama will win a second term in office.

Olubumi hopes the public will visit the gallery and see his life’s work at the exhibition, entitled Crystal Black Art Show .

“The exhibition is an opportunity for me to show my work. I hope people will turn up to support me,” he said.

Olubumi, who completed a degree in fine art in 2000, at Middlesex University, hopes to use his gift to encourage young people from African-Caribbean communities.

He explained: “Young people don’t know how to express themselves… I want to encourage them to express themselves through art.”

The Crystal Black Art Show is being held at the East Gallery, 214 Brick Lane, London E1.

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