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Gianna Paniagua




I was born in New York City in 1991. At the age of 14 months, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and became the recipient of a heart transplant at Babies & Children's Hospital of New York. Much of my time growing up was split between the cities of Manhattan and Miami, which were a major source of inspiration for my current work. After relocating to Connecticut, I attended my first classes at the YMCA of Danbury. There, I studied drawing, painting, and airbrushing. In the years following, I spent her time outside of school working as an independent airbrush artist. At the age of 14, I moved to Pittsburgh where I currently resides. I attended summer session classes for painting at both Carnegie Mellon University and The New School: Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic. My interest in art was put on hold in order to prepare for a career in the sciences as I was accepted into the Governor's School for Medicine in the summer of 2008. I also received an award from the University of Rochester for exceptional interest and academic achievement in the sciences.

Enrolling in college, my career focus shifted away from science and back towards visual arts. Currently, I attends the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a BA in Studio Arts. Her concentrations include painting, drawing, and papercutting. My series of three photographs titled Exo was exhibited in the Studio Arts Student Exhibition in 2011, winning the Edward Powell Award. In my work I incorporates anatomical imagery stemming from her roots in the sciences. Much of my work has concentrated around my beliefs concerning the body, especially my own. There is a rapid deterioration of my own body due to the continuous appearance of long term effects of my transplant. However, I am at a point where I understand and accept it. My current work surrounds ideas of spiritual healing which is very important to me due to my Cuban roots.