Zuly Sanguino is a talented young artist and motivational speaker. The 24-year-old Colombian creates beautiful, colorful paintings of flowers and landscapes that have been exhibited in various shows. She has also given several motivational lectures at corporate organizations, schools and prisons. Zuly is an exceptional woman, mainly because she’s managed to achieve so much even though she was born without fully formed limbs.
Born with phocomelia, a congenital disorder that affected all four of her limbs, Zuly was destined for a life of disability. The doctors had informed her mother, Guillermina, that Zuly would have to be lying down all the time for the rest of her life. In spite of their poverty and terrible living conditions (they lived in shacks with dirt floors), Guillermina wouldn’t give up on her daughter – she taught young Zuly to sit at first, and then walk on her own without external support.
Along with little Zuly’s struggles, the Sanguino family had another issue to deal with – her father’s abusive nature. He physically and verbally abused her mother and siblings on a regular basis. Although Zuly was making progress, things took a turn for the worse when her father committed suicide.
She was a little girl at the time, devastated by the terrible event. Zuly slipped into a depression that took her several years to overcome. But her mother provided her with a rock solid support system; she tried to help Zuly by educating her at home and teaching her to write and paint using her mouth. Guillermina’s only goal was to help her daughter find her purpose in life.
Gradually, Zuly started to get really good at painting, and at age 15, she realized that her life was actually worth living. And she hasn’t looked back since. Today, Zuly is capable of living a life as normal as any other 24-year-old – she can dress herself, put on her make up, mop her floors and of course, paint. She is also an environmentalist – she goes around her neighborhood with her siblings and friends, picking up trash and keeping her community clean. In her spare time, she also helps take care of her siblings and other children in the neighborhood.
But what really stands out is the fact that Zuly can paint exceptionally well – her methods might be unconventional, but her art is on par with any other professional artist. Her paintings are mostly centered around the themes that she’s really passionate about – 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.