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Artist Paralyzed in Shooting Perfects Mouth-Painting Technique

Mariam Pare, a quadriplegic, wouldn't let physical setback stop her art.

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Left completely paralyzed after being shot in the back, a quadriplegic artist has found a way to continue painting celebrity portraits—using her mouth.

Chicago-based artist Mariam Pare, 41, was caught in the crossfire of a shootout shortly after graduating art school, Caters News reported.

“I’ve always been an artist, I was at art school painting at a very sophisticated level and it was what I wanted to do with my life,” she told Caters.

“As a disabled person who couldn’t use her hands I thought I would never paint again or work again I couldn’t fathom it. I needed people to take care of me and I couldn’t even live by my own.”

Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)

After being trained to sign her name with her mouth, “I realized how much control I had… which was the lightbulb moment.”

The fateful bullet struck her 21 years ago, while she was a passenger in a car driven by a friend.

Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)

“Somebody was shooting a gun on the corner and the car that I was in was struck with one of the bullets which one passed through the head rest and hit me in the back,” Pare said.

 

Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)

The artist’s work will appear in a few gallery exhibitions this year in Chicago—including her first solo exhibition in August.

“When people do find out they’re very impressed or don’t know even know how I manage it but it’s like second nature for me now and I can’t even remember what it’s like to use my hands,” said Pare.

Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)
Paintings from Mariam Pare
(Mariam Pare/Caters News)