Augusta, GA – Emmanuel Martinez never thought he would be an artist, but the man who doctors thought had a slim chance to survive an electrocution loves to paint.
In March 2000, Martinez, then just 23, was electrocuted when a crane hit a power line. When he awoke from a coma four months later, he had lost his legs and his right arm. He spent the next year at the Doctors Hospital Rehab Center learning how to adapt to his new world. As one might expect, for awhile Emmanuel asked questions of “Why me?”, and “What will I do now?”
His physical and occupational therapists and Martinez worked as a team to learn the basics all over again. ‘It was like I was a baby again,” Martinez says. Martinez also discovered painting.
His journey as an artist began when a therapist in the Rehab Unit at Doctors Hospital, brought him a book about Joni Eareckson Tada, a woman paralyzed from the neck down at 17 from a diving accident. Tada learned to paint using her mouth.
“I was inspired. I decided that if she can do it. I could too. I have one arm,” Martinez says.
Over the years he has taken classes at the Gertrude Herbert Institute for Art. He uses charcoal, tempera paints, watercolors, and oils to paint still lifes and landscapes. His favorite is oil. “You have more time to change with oil,” Martinez says.
The public can view Martinez’s works at an art show On Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lobby and on the sixth floor Rehab Unit at Doctors Hospital, 3651 Wheeler Road. The show is part of the hospital’s National Rehab Awareness Week activities.
For Martinez the show is a chance to inspire someone else. “You have to go forward. You have to never give up,” Martinez says.