Rosario Elena MILLAN
Birthplace: Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México
scholarship holder of AMFPA since: 2012
Painting Method: Mouth painter
My name is Rosario Elena Millán Félix and I was born on August 18, 1955 in the City of Los Mochis, Sinaloa. I am the oldest sister of eight children that my parents had. When I was 8 months old I suffered a terrible infectious disease of the nervous system that left me with cerebral palsy, so my infancy was a sad one.
This sickness did not allow me to lead a normal life like any other since I suffered much discrimination due to my health problems. This made me feel very insecure so I did not go out for fear of people making fun of me. I cannot walk nor coordinate my body´s movements, so I move around in a wheelchair. Also, I cannot talk in a normal manner.
My mother´s family provided me with very little support, unlike my aunt´s family that really helped during my childhood. They made me see things differently and helped me to realize that people would not reject me because of my illness, and that there are always good people around us.
As years went by I tried helping my family with the household expenses, so one day I bought some pastry and, with the help of a niece, I went out to sell them. This was not an easy task since the streets had no pavement and my wheelchair would get stuck, but this did not stop me.
With time, this made me feel stronger, with the courage to face anything without fear, and I started to have a more independent life. That was one of the greatest advantages of my sickness.
I attempted to get pregnant since I was 22 and I finally achieved this at 38, giving birth to my son Mario Ignacio Millán.
During a period of 4 years, a friend, professor Lidia de Jesús Cháidez, scholarship grantee of the International Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, kept inviting me to take painting classes so I could stop working on the streets, thus avoiding the exposure to many dangers. Even though at the beginning I felt it was somewhat complicated to do this due to the lack of control of my body movements, as time went by I realized that I could do this well and I strived more to learn. This is how, little by little with practice, I acquired a greater ability to paint with my mouth. Up to the present I still do it and feel that I continue to improve every day.
Painting with my mouth has surpassed my expectations in life. I am doing something I never imagined I would do given my severe disability, and with such nice results; but thanks to the constant effort, I am achieving it. I feel that with this activity I free myself from stress, from tensions and I feel relaxed. In addition, in teacher Lidia´s workshop there is a very motivating environment for learning, of camaraderie and a supportive coexistence amongst all of us that attend. It is something that is changing my life; I am myself impressed at the things that I am doing.
I want to have in my life greater opportunities to be happy and forge ahead for myself and my family. I feel accomplished as a woman and mother, I aspire to be a better person each day and be supportive in the lives of my loved ones.
In March 2012 I was accepted as a scholarship grantee by the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists which makes me very happy and allows me to grow as a person and artist.