Mariam Pare: Quadriplegic Mouth Painter

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Losing the ability to move different parts of your body is devastating. Though wheelchair vans make it a little easier, paralysis is not an ideal situation.

Especially as a painter… Can you imagine suddenly losing the ability to use your hands as an artist?

Mariam Pare, an artist from the western suburbs in Chicago, had this very incident happen to her. But instead of letting this devastating situation discourage her, she became more determined to fulfill her dreams.

Mariam loved painting since she was little and was working toward pursuing a career in art when she unexpectedly became paralyzed. In 1996, she was a victim of gun violence after being shot in the back. This required her to start a new life due to spinal cord injury.

As a quadriplegic, Mariam spent years recovering and learning how to adapt to her new life. After her therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago taught her how to use a pencil with her mouth, she decided to teach herself how to use a paintbrush with her mouth. One of her first painting was of Bob Marley.

With a lot of time and practice and a lot of trial and error, she fulfilled her dreams by becoming a “mouth-painter” and an inspiration to others. She even decided to go to school for a Fine Arts Degree and was involved in multiple organizations throughout the years.

Her current journey as an “mouth painter” has led her to share her inspiring story to thousands of people. She began inspirational speaking for various events for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Spinal Cord Injury Group, the MFPA,, and more!

Mariam specializes in traditional oil and modern mixed media techniques as she continues to create art as a visual artist, mouth painter, speaker and advocate for those who also have spinal cord injury. Her artwork can be found in galleries nationally and locally.

For more information on Miriam, you can visit her site here.

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