Raúl ORTÍZ CARRILLO
Birthplace: Ahome, Mexico
scholarship holder of AMFPA since: 2009
Painting Method: Mouth painter
I was born on August 9, 1973 in Ahome Sinaloa, Mexico; I am the first born of 3 siblings. I currently live with my parents and my sisters. It was there that I attended grade school, high school and up to the second semester of preparatory courses for an Accounting technical degree.
At the end of my second semester at age 15, I had an accident due to a head dive in River Fuerte, where I fractured my spinal column at the height of the 5th and 6th medullar section, leaving me as a quadriplegic.
We then moved to my grandparent’s home which was more accessible to the care I would need. I received one year of rehabilitation treatments and was later taken to the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco, California, USA, where I received free medical care for a period of four years.
At the beginning, this was all very difficult for me and my family. We first had to accept my disability and later, the adaptation process of living a very different lifestyle. However, my situation stimulated a great family union that facilitated my physical, emotional and social rehabilitation.
The lack of proper information about my physical condition was present coupled with our low economic resources, society´s indifference in general and discrimination for people with disabilities did not make things any easier. Nevertheless, we had to continue moving forward and I consider that I have many things to learn and enjoy.
Since I was a child I liked pencil drawing and would entertain myself doing this. After my accident I wanted to continue drawing but, since I had lost movement in my hands, this task seemed impossible.
I later found a friend and scholarship grantee, Víctor Manuel Reyes Portillo, who was with me at the hospital in the United States and who also told me about the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. He invited me to take painting classes with grantee Lic. Lidia Chaidéz López, a paint workshop of the Pioneering Association of People with Disabilities de Los Mochis, IAP (Private Assistance Initiative).
At the beginning, it seemed an impossible task since I had never done anything with my mouth, much less paint. From the moment I was told about the Painters Association, I became curious and wanted to see the artistic work. Then I asked myself, why not learn a new activity about what I have a passion for? Of course, this was drawing and painting.
From the moment I started drawing and painting six months ago, my life´s perspective changed. I understood then that we cannot only do things with our hands, but also with our mouths, like painting.
It has been very important to me to have received a scholarship that started in March of 2009. It gives me the opportunity to command the mouth-painting technique and be productive. This also allows me to avoid society´s marginalization, as well as an additional incentive in my life.