SE1 EP01: Mariam Paré – I Wouldn’t Let Paralysis Stop Me Painting

Today on the success Journeys podcast we’re talking with Mariam Paré someone who always says yes to life.

Mariam is a hugely talented visual artist mouth painter, fundraiser inspirational speaker and founding member of STEAM Studios an organization that provides world-class arts education to under-served Chicago communities.

Ever since she was little Mariam always loved to paint. Her passion for creating art continued throughout her teenage years and Mariam dreamed of a career making art.

In 1996, at the age of 20 her journey was diverted tragically off course when she became the victim of gun violence.

While stopped at a stop sign in the driver’s seat of a friend’s car, gun fire erupted on the adjacent sidewalk. In a matter of seconds, the unthinkable happened and Mariam’s life changed forever. A single bullet passed through the door of the car and struck her in the back of the neck paralyzing her instantly.

Though Mariam wouldn’t let that stop her, she used her love for her art to pull her through and embarked on a long period of rehabilitation. She slowly and painfully relearned to do everyday activities which had previously been taken for granted.

Mariam learned to get around using a wheelchair. She learned new ways of holding things with fingers that did not move. She also learned how to use her mouth for tasks that required a tight grip or precision in her movements.

At the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, a therapist taught Mariam to hold a pencil in her mouth to write her name. This single lesson exposed Mariam to a new possible way of painting. She realised if she could control a pencil in this way, then why not a paintbrush? With earnest determination, she soon began teach herself again how to paint using her mouth.

Over the years Mariam has provided inspirational and memorable speaking services for many groups and companies.

Twenty years after her violent injury, painting by mouth has become second nature to Mariam, who now proudly possesses painting skills tantamount to that of any able-bodied counterpart.

She exhibits her work in galleries both nationally and locally as well as in numerous private collections. She works prolifically from her home studio in Chicago and I’m immensely privileged to have her on the show today…

Visit Mariam’s Website

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Series Credits

Host: Katy Napoleon-Hill
Series Producer: Simon Dunant, New Rise Digital

Copyright 2016 Diamond Box Media