The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Association (MFPA)
is an international, registered society of disabled artists, wholly owned and run by the artists themselves to meet their financial needs. Members paint with brushes held in their mouth or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness that prohibits them from using their hands.
In 1956, a polio victim, Erich Stegmann grew up with disabled arms, and yet built a highly successful career in Germany by painting with a mouth-held brush. It was Stegmann's belief that if painters with similar problems formed a co-operative, it would be possible for them to live by their artistic efforts and enjoy a sense of work security that until then had eluded them. This aim was to be achieved by the marketing of their work in the form of greetings cards, calendars, prints and illustrated books. The result has been a unique worldwide art movement called the MFPA Association.
With over 800 artists from 74 countries, the MFPA instills in its artists a sense of self-respect and dignity that comes from earning an independent, honest and secure livelihood through the sale of their artwork.
In India, the Association currently supports 20 member artists from across the country; The artists come from a diverse cultural background spread across the states of Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Members work individually from their homes and regularly submit artworks to the Association.