Published on Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00
24-year-old Zuly Sanguino is a young artist and motivational speaker with an extraordinary talent for painting breathtaking pictures using only her mouth. The beautiful Colombian creates stunningly vivid paintings of flowers, landscapes and animals that have been exhibited in various art shows. She also gives motivational lectures at corporate organizations, schools and prisons. Zuly is truly a remarkable woman, mainly because she has managed to achieve so much and successfully pursued her dream of being an artist despite being born without fully formed limbs.
Zuly was destined for a life of disability when she was born with phocomelia, a congenital disorder that affected all four of her limbs. The doctors had informed her mother, Guillermina, that Zuly would have to be bedridden and lying down for the rest of her life. The Sanguinos earned minimum wage and lived in shacks with dirt floors, but in spite of their poverty and terrible living conditions, Guillermina refused to give up on her daughter. She taught young Zuly to sit at first, then progressed to walking on her own without external support.
Beside Zuly's disability, the Sanguino family was facing another adversity – her father's abusive nature. He physically and verbally abused her mother and siblings on a regular basis. Zuly was making amazing progress with learning how to get around and do things on her own, but a whole new can of worms opened up when Zuly's father committed suicide.
Zuly was just a little girl at the time her father took his own life and was devastated by the terrible event even though the abuse stopped with her father's death. She slipped into a deep depression, but with her mother's guidance and strong support, she managed to overcome it after a few years. Guillermina home-schooled Zuly and taught her how to write and paint using her mouth. The dedicated mother's sole goal was to help her daughter find her purpose in life.
Gradually, Zuly started to develop and got really good at painting, at age 15, she finally realized that her life was actually worth living, and she has not looked back ever since. Today, Zuly is capable of living a life as normal as any other 20-something year old women; she can dress herself, put on makeup, mop her floors, and most importantly, paint. She is also a devoted environmentalist, she frequently goes around her neighborhood with her siblings and friends, picking up litter and keeping her community clean. When time allows it, she offers to take care of her siblings and other children in the neighborhood.
Zuly truly shines with her exceptional paintings. Even though she paints with her mouth, her finished artwork is on par with any other professional painters. Her paintings are usually centered around the themes she is passionate about, which is nature and the environment. Zuly’s success story has become an inspiration to the world, especially to young people who are struggling to cope with depression. Her story and her work gained worldwide attention through social media and she was invited to the United States to expand her career as an artist and motivational speaker.