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Paralysed Mai's art goes on show

A FORMER nurse who took up painting after being paralysed from the neck down in a car accident is holding her second exhibition this month.

Mai Ryan (60) has produced 51 paintings in three years for her exhibition in Blanchardstown Library -- by holding the paintbrush in her mouth.

The talented artist has become the country's contemporary version of Christy Brown, since she was left paralysed from the neck downafter a serious car crash 34 years ago - when she was aged just 26.

"I paint using a brush in my mouth. I mostly do landscapes but I've done birds, horse's heads, and bodies. A lot of people take photos for me, and I paint those," she said.

Mai lives in Cuan Aoibheann at St Mary's Hospital in Phoenix Park, and she has worked tirelessly at her biggest passion ever since the accident.

Mai, whose exhibition, Images & Inspirations, runs until September 18, said: "It's more than a hobby. I've always had an interest in it, but after the accident I took it up more seriously. I did courses up in Dun Laoghaire then.

"I just learned myself. I love it passionately. I get up in the morning and I just want to paint.

"Watercolours can be done in a day, and for acrylics and oils it could take one week to three weeks."

"I have a personal assistant, Yvonne Phibbs, and she means everything to me. When I go to paint she opens up the brushes, opens up the paint, gets the water ready, and washes the brushes afterwards. We're a team."