Disabled artist defies the odds

July 11, 2008 12:01:01 PM PDT
Seldom in life do you come across people who clearly were meant to cross paths. Well, Carl Thelemaque and Haile King Rubie are such people. Canvases are their common road. "When he's on it and you leave him alone, he's on it," Thelemaque said. "He's like, 'This is it, this is what I'm doing, I'm doing this."

Themeaquie is the teacher and Rubie the student, although Carl prefers to call Haile his equal. And it means the world to the 18-year-old.

Haile has down syndrome and often functions on the level of a 10-year-old. But surrounded by vibrant oranges and blues, age is just a number.

Haile has created a world of art with no formal training. The two spend hours together painting, and the hard work has paid off.

Haile's pieces are now featured in an exhibit at St. Mark's Untied Methodist Church in Harlem. Others have appeared in galleries and sold for up to $1,200 dollars.

"I can't explain where his talent comes from, his inspiration," gallery owner Lawrence Rodriguez said. "But it has come together in a really good package."

One art showing is extra special. Just three months ago, a team of doctors Mount Sinai performed open heart surgery on Haile. Now, he's back to thank them.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart," he told the doctors before donating three of his works. They will hang in the pediatric intensive care unit. He says he wants to be an artist when he grows up. But the simple fact is, he is already there.

To learn more about Haile's work and where to find it, visit HailesImoArt.com.


STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson