Written by April Hasson
Photo by Christina Wehbe
Born in Morocco, Mariam was an artist at a young age. Later as a young adult, Mariam became a new type of artist – a “mouth painter” – after becoming a victim of random gun violence at the age of 20. The resulting spinal cord injury and paralysis left Mariam unable to walk or fully use her hands. Her injury was made even graver by the terrifying thought that her artistic future was hanging in the balance. After months of rehabilitation, Ms. Paré tried a new method of creating art by using her mouth to hold a paintbrush. As there was little written about mouth painting sixteen years ago, Mariam taught herself to paint using this unique method through trial and error. She is now a long-standing member of the Association of Foot and Mouth Painting (MFPA), where she is a contracted artist who makes a living through her works. Mariam is also co-founder of STEAM Studios, which provides studio space and glass-blowing facilities to emerging and professional artists in the Chicago area. While based in Illinois, Mariam’s oil and mixed-media paintings have been exhibited internationally and are held in numerous private collections around the globe. When not painting prolifically in her studio, Mariam Paré assists in art therapy programming and special events as an Associate Board Member at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Mariam captures her passion for painting through bold, colorful expression, creating traditional still lives, semi-abstract motifs, colorful landscapes, and contemporary figurative designs. To look a painting by Mariam Paré one might see a beautiful piece of artwork. To then discover the manner in which it was produced, and the resilience it took to make it possible, makes it that much more remarkable.
As part of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, Mariam is a featured artist in the “Unbroken: Art After Injury” show at Next Door Café in Chicago.
For more information on Mariam Paré, visit www.mariampare.com.