Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 16th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Hsu Cheng-ming—Cerebral Palsy Fighter
 [Painter on a wheelchair]

I feel like Van Gough when I paint. I paint what is in my mind and I sell my paintings to help those in need.
—Hsu Cheng-ming
 
Hsu Cheng-ming is an aboriginal from the Bunun tribe in Hualien of eastern Taiwan. He was born with cerebral palsy, a condition characterized by speech impairment and walking disability. When Cheng-ming was in high school, he fell down from the stairway, damaging the spines and leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. 
 
Thanks to the support provided by staff from Hualien’s Mennonite Christian Hospital, after nine years of in-bed treatment, he found a new self in the world of arts. Using recycled PET bottles as paint boxes and the two tires as canvas, he turned his wheelchair into a mobile art studio/gallery.
 
“I love the feeling when I paint. I feel like Van Gough. I paint what is in my mind and I sell my paintings to help those in need,” he said. 

Talent for painting
Hsu Cheng-ming spent his childhood in a small Bunun tribe in Hualien County. Since little, he has developed a passion for painting. 
 
Although his family was not well off and couldn’t afford pens and papers, he would improvise with what he had—taking walls, fences and sands as canvases and his ten fingers and paintbrushes. 
 
Cheng-ming’s elementary school teachers encouraged him to follow his heart and dream. He practiced water painting and chose automobiles, aircrafts and high-end technology as objects. By the time he finished junior high school, he has already earned the third place in a county-wide arts competition. 
 
His life hit rock bottom when he feel down from the stairs and became paralyzed. For nine continuous years, he was too depressed to create any artwork.

Change brings hope
On February 14, 2000, nine years after hospitalization, Cheng-ming was transferred to a rehabilitation center. The staff there was very fond of him and tried to enliven his passion for painting. 
 
Slowly, Cheng-ming opened himself up and regained interest in painting. With his right hand injured, he had to learn to sketch with his left hand. Six months later, he switched the artistic medium to water paint and paper clay. 
 
Cheng-ming is a devout Christian who reads the bible every evening. Through religion he understands that humans are flawed beings and those who underwent trials and sufferings are bound to be blessed. 
 
His faith in Christianity helped him remain confident in the face of adversity and overcome many challenges in life. Cheng-ming believes that things do not happen by random chance and that everything is under the plan of God. His life philosophy is: going with the flow and being at ease with one’s current situation. 

Treasured artwork
Painting helps Cheng-ming with his thought process and makes him feel peaceful. Every painting is a reflection of his unique view and rich emotions. 
 
Cheng-ming has a like for nature. He has so far painted Yushan, the highest mountain in Taiwan, Suao, a township famous for its seafood, Sun Moon Lake, a popular tourist destination, and other panoramic views. Instead of visiting the places in person, he relied solely on his memory to complete the paintings. 
 
Another noteworthy feature of his paintings is that they are all done without using sketches for reference. He paints only in one direction—from the top to the bottom of the canvas. He has adopted the approach because he was inspired by Monet’s impressionist paintings. 

Reaching for unlimited skies
Cheng-ming is grateful to the people who supported him all the way, his family, the medical team and hospital volunteers. He hopes that his artwork and life story can inspire the mentally and physically disabled group to be more independent. 
 
In lending a helping hand to the disabled, Cheng-ming is donating the proceeds of his artwork.