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  1. How 17-Year-Old Panteha Abareshi Turned Sickle Cell Pain Into Her Artistic Muse

    April 5, 2017 by Andrea


    Artists find inspiration in various things and places -- love, nature, beauty, and personal experiences, just to name a few. Seventeen-year-old Panteha Abareshi draws on the latter; more specifically, she channels her sickle cell pain into her art.

    Diagnosed with sickle cell disease -- sickle cell beta-zero thalassemia to be exact -- at two years old, Panteha understands what it's like to live with acute, chronic pain and have an intense need to escape that pain, even just a little bit, however possible. When her health took a turn for the worse in the fall of 2014, Panteha found herself in the hospital regularly. She was in so much pain that she could only move her hands and her arms. In the new short film, The Girl Who Loves Roses, by The FRONT, Panteha tells of how in that moment, she asked her dad to hand her a sketchpad. She began drawing images of women of color expressing pain, struggle, and overall femininity. "I would create alternate realities that I could take myself to to explain why I was in the hospital or to make it somewhere I wanted to be, rather than somewhere I had to be," she shares in the film.

    Besides a way to cope with her physical and mental pain, Panteha also uses her illustrations as a way to increase the representation of women of color in the art world, especially when it comes to women of color with mental illness and chronic illness, both of which Panteha struggles with. On March 30, her artwork, along with the short film, went on display at Larrie, an art gallery in NYC's Chinatown, and according to Paper magazine, the show will be around for two weeks, as part of pop-up art show highlighting Panteha's works.

    Check out the short, behind-the-scenes film below and continue scrolling to see a few samples of the art she has created.


    Delicately Please!!

    A post shared by Panteha Abareshi (@pantehart) on


    Let Your Emotions Show

    A post shared by Panteha Abareshi (@pantehart) on

    Self-portrait to break my own heart

    A post shared by Panteha Abareshi (@pantehart) on

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