Tasks and Goals
In 1956, a small group of physically disabled artists from all over Europe banded together under the leadership of the mouth painter Erich Stegmann with great courage and commitment, in pursuit of a common vision: the development of a self-help organisation made up exclusively of severely physically disabled people.
This community of disabled artists is owned by its members and was founded by artists who are not able to paint with their hands and therefore paint by holding the brush with the mouth or foot.
Today, 50 years later, 726 mouth and foot painters in 74 countries already work in the Association, which is unique worldwide. And all these artists have learned to paint holding the brush in the mouth or between the toes as, due to accident, illness or from their birth, they lack the use of their hands.
Due to their disabilities, it is far harder for these artists than it is for other creative artists to market their work commercially; yet, thanks to the “Association of Mouth and Foot Panting Artists” which they have founded, the painters have meanwhile become internationally established and recognised. In particular, the organisation is concerned with organising a multifaceted range of exhibitions and selling calendars and art cards. The publishing house thereby offers decisive help to these severely disabled people, making it possible for them to shape their lives anew. In addition, similarly disabled artists are also supported by the Association: they receive scholarships for training and further training, and likewise achieve greater independence.
In a nutshell: the Association supports special people to pursue their profession as artists.
However, these artistic activities should in no way be regarded as a front for obtaining charity. The Association demands high artistic standards from its members. The personal abilities of the artists stand in the foreground, not their physical disabilities. It is therefore understandable that their motto is “No pity please”, as the artists wish to shield themselves from any false reactions on the part of art critics or the public.