This moving story of a Chinese woman tells an inspiring journey of how she overcame life’s greatest adversities to become one of the most sought out painters in China.
40-year-old Zhang Junli is a famous painter from Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, who has been paralysed for the past 32 years, Daily Mail reports.
It all started when Zhang was six, she felt something was wrong as her thumb and wrist would always swell up and hurt. Her parents took her to the hospital for a checkup and the doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and damage throughout the body. The doctors warned them that there was a risk of paralysis if her condition was not treated properly.
By the age of eight, she had lost 90 per cent of her body’s joint function and has been bedridden since then.
“I can move my hip, shoulders, and neck a little. Other than that, I can’t move at all.”
Zhang’s mother would cry every time the neighbours asked about her condition.
“It was sad to see my mother like that. I’m just paralysed – I’m not dead,” she said.
According to NextShark, Zhang started drawing as a pastime at a young age. She started learning oil painting in 2015 with the instruction of a professional teacher and instantly fell in love with it.
“Painting transformed me,” she said. “The first time I picked up a brush, it’s as if I have found my calling. I felt that I lived to draw.”
“The world is too beautiful. Even if I am in poor health, I don’t want to give up the opportunity to live”
It was the start of an arduous journey for Zhang. Her wrists were completely stiff and she could only hold a brush between her thumb and index finger in a fist. She had to angle her shoulder to apply pressure on the canvas.
However, she did not let this stop her. Her devotion and passion for painting have pushed her to achieve her dream.
A video published by China News featured the inspirational painter at her work. Check out the video below:
Zhang has created more than 300 paintings. She also owns an online shop, ‘Lily’s Easel’, on WeChat, where she sells her artwork.
A total of 150 pieces of Zhang’s artwork have been sold, and half of them were purchased this past week!
“I sold my last painting this morning. I can’t believe this. I am so touched by everyone’s support. It truly feels like a dream!” Zhang said excitedly.
She also said that she gets her inspiration from books, music, online scenic photographs, and her friends’ travel photos.
“This way, even if I can’t get out of the house, I get to see beautiful landscapes, skies, and seas – I can still explore the world with my paint and my canvas.”
Besides painting, the talented individual has written four books, three of which are fiction and one an autobiography.
Zhang said she wants to use her works to encourage those who are suffering the same fate as her, and to tell them to never give up.
“Instead of crying and worrying all day, explore your identity and find your meaning in life. Live in the present,” she said.
Zhang is truly an inspiring individual. Her story has taught us that as long as we have the passion and effort, our dreams will definitely be achieved!