A painter grasps the brush and gracefully creates a stroke across the canvas. What if this artist couldn’t use their hands?
That’s the reality for Mariam Paré, who has learned to paint by mouth instead.
At 20, her life was forever changed when she was suddenly shot while sitting in her car.
“At the time I didn’t even know I had been shot. I thought I had been electrocuted because I saw a bright light and my hands dropped off the steering wheel and I was instantly paralyzed,” said Paré.
The painter, who had been going to art school, believed she’d lost the color in her life. But with a strong determination, she didn’t give in.
Her occupational therapist taught her how to write her name using her mouth, which sparked an idea.
“It was at that point that I realized that well, if I can write my name with a pen in my mouth then maybe I can paint this way. I got excited about that, that I could have art in my life again,” said Paré.
The artist has to take it one brush stroke at a time, but she’s doing what she loves.
“Making art became this thing that I felt really good about because I could still do it and I think it kept me going and gave me a purpose,” said Paré.
Mouth and Foot Painting Artists
Now, 23 years later, Paré is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, or MFPA. Through this group she’s able to license her work.
This year, she is one of four U.S. artists chosen to be part of the MFPA’s annual Christmas card sale – the proceeds going back to the artist.
Art could have been something she lost, but for pare it is something that sets her free.
“It’s the only place in my world that I don’t have any limitations. And I think that’s why I love painting so much,” said Paré.
Paré’s Christmas cards are available on the MFPA website.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.