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Barbara Ker-Mann: Life, Art, and Passion

Barbara Ker-Mann is an artist and writer now living in Auckland, New Zealand. She paints, writes poems and novels, while enjoying the life offered in a Village for retired people. In August she will celebrate her 87th birthday with family and friends to share the day.

At three years old, Barbara contracted poliomyelitis. She thought that having polio was a weakness that she should be ashamed of and then she had a light-bulb experience. She heard the verse from Isaiah 40 read in church: “But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” It was these words that caught her imagination. To run and not be weary. That will be wonderful.

Barbara’s memoir, Fleeing Polio on Wings like the Eagle, was written beautifully. She wrote it with hopes that she will encourage her readers that even though life might have taken away one’s freedom to move, one can take it back. It also teaches the readers to appreciate the spiritual needs of children and give proper care for their bodies and mind.

Every line in her written memoir is full of passion and hope. Once you read it, you will undoubtedly know and feel that Barbara had poured her heart into it. She believes that writing an account of one’s life can bring healing and encouragement; it also helps the writer know what they think; and it keeps memories strong.

By the age of 12, Barbara had shown herself to be gifted in violin playing and found it compensated for her inability to play sports with ease.

She excelled in violin playing and gained her FTCL while married with three children and believes that playing a musical instrument is rewarding. It can compensate for the loss of ability, and it can bring a career change and bring joy to others.

In 1983 Barbara was awarded an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women to study the art of teaching violin by the Suzuki method. She therefore spent the year living in Matsumoto, Japan, and doing her research for her Master of Music degree which she gained on returning to New Zealand.

While in Japan, she also studied traditional art but it was the art of chigirie which she adopted once back home. She then took several trips back to Japan to study with her sensei in Yokohama. Chigirie is the torn paper art form largely unknown in New Zealand so Barbara has set up her Chigirie school called Leafgreen Chigirie NZ.

Multitalented, Barbara has published books of poems and has several novels on Kindle. Her masterpieces, Death of a Sparrow and Clone Child, are centred on social and ecological issues and criminal foul play heavily disguised as fictional romance. Each chapter of each novel will surely catch your attention and give you the feeling of not wanting it to end.

Currently, she has four more books ready to publish: After Dolly (a rewrite of Violated/Clone Child); A Royal People (a novel set in NZ); Doing Old (sequel to her memoir) and a children’s book, Harry’s Heavenly Hat. So What? (for which she painted the illustrations on the computer.) How cool was that?

These are the kinds of books that will surely make you feel all sorts of emotions. Additional to that, she has books of poems, too, ready to be published.

Barbara Ker-Mann is indeed a great artist with incredible talent that must be seen by everyone. If you are interested in reading and seeing some of her great works you might want to check her website

Once you read her works, you might want to send her some thank you and comments on her email account with the subject BOOK

Barbara’s life, art, and passion are indeed an inspiration to pursue what you want, hone your talents, and fly like an eagle once you are ready.

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