The artist also seeks to inspire others to see a different perspective on God's love [Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

South America

A Quadriplegic Portrays on Canvas a New Look at Life

Marcelo Cunha uses his talent to witness differently, painting paintings with his mouth

Brazil | Gabriela Porto

At the age of 21, Marcelo Cunha was an athlete and designer, until he suffered an accident during a dive, which left him paralyzed. However, even with physical limitations, nothing prevented him from continuing to realize dreams and serve God through his testimony.

Despite adversity, he began painting with his mouth and dedicated himself to painting for ten years. Moved by a desire for change, he sought to communicate through this alternative way how much art can transform lives.

Frequent and assiduous, Cunha is director of the Mordomy and Sabbath School department of the Adventist Church of Jardim Paulista, in Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro. In recent years, he has held workshops in Adventist congregations in the southern part of the state, at events such as campgrounds, campers, and various activities to encourage juveniles, adolescents, and young people to witness and continue serving God even in the midst of difficulties.

"Diving into the artistic universe determined a change like I never imagined. As a result of a [mistake] in [the] water, I crashed and became quadriplegic. Unable to fulfill dreams that depended on physical freedom, I questioned a lot. And it was in this context that I painted with my mouth. And, more than a gift, a ministry and countless possibilities emerged. Now I have autonomy," Cunha details.

For him, with each picture completed and hanging on the walls, a new opportunity arises to share with people of the miracles that Jesus can do. “I was happy to be active. Thus arose the desire to have a definitive studio to expose the permanent paintings instead of storing them on shelves," he says.

The details and peculiarity of each work are the elements for building an optimistic look at challenges, he says. The commitment marked the meaning of freedom once lost, treading paths and great changes alongside Jesus.

"The production of my works has become more intense, and several of them have been selected and reproduced on cards and calendars, sold in more than 70 countries. And to top it off, I was promoted as an associate member of APBP (Association of Painters with Mouth and Feet), and now I have conquered a nook in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro,. a place of rich native vegetation and natural beauties, where a large and accessible house was built to reach the long-dreamed-of studio," Cunha emphasizes.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site