This story now
IN History & Culture ON 05 Aug, 2014
Zuly Sanguino is 24-year-old artist and motivational speaker with an extraordinary talent for painting magnificent and inspiring 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, churches, 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, at some point she sent Zuly to school but unfortunately Zuly suffered bullying by a teacher and some students then the depression come back to zuly's life, this time was for a different reason, in many occasions the teacher made zuly to go up and down five floors of stairs on her elbows .At that time zuly realized she was different and she tried to killed herself several times thinking that there was no point to life. But the magical combination of her art and her family was her salvation for those years of depression, when she did not understand why people discriminated her. She just painted!!! she had the guidance of her mother, sister Nyx and her brother Efrain who were her first art mentors.
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 Zuly Sanguino also had the opportunity to do a special for National Geographic,10tvnews(India),Testigo Directo (colombia),CityTv (Colombia),Buenos Dias(Costa Rica), Vanitha TV(India) and Zuly Sanguino also received recognition for her Environmentalism & Social Work by the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.
She wants to go to the famous show in the USA " The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to teach people her story!!
Zuly Sanguino comes from a very poor but very talented family. Guillermina Sanguino (painter ),Nyx Sanguino (Painter, photographer and poet), Efrain Sanguino (painter) and Sammir Sanguino (photographer)
Mouth painting by Zuly Sanguino (it was a gift for her friend Nick)