scholarship holder of AMFPA since: 2004
Painting Method: Mouth painter
I was born on April 23, 1938 in Holland. I was also born with cerebral palsy. According to my mother´s recount, at birth I had a purplish color, and the doctor had to immerse me in hot water and cold water alternating, until I started to breathe.
Even now, in order to breathe deeply, or talk clearly or even sit, I have to concentrate.
The first memory that I have of my life was when I was hidden during Second World War in Holland. This happened when I was staying with my dad´s friends. They would hide me under a table so no one could see me. The house even had shades made of black paper to cover the windows so no one could see the inside during the night or day. The only food I was fed was sweet potatoes, cooked at candlelight.
I rarely spoke; perhaps only to go to the bathroom. You could breathe violence in the environment. My parents finally came to get me in 1946, and I was placed in a Montessori school for normal girls. My family had a chair made for me which resembled a box with wooden wheels with a crossbar to pull the cart. I was later told that the school did not accept me. However, my parents went to the school with a book titled: “Nacido así” (Born that way), written by Dr. Earl Carlson that suffered from cerebral palsy, and he recounts how he was able to advance in life.
I was tested for intelligence and the results showed that I was very interested in learning. I was accepted into the second grade.
My parents later took me to a school in the United States of America which was owned by Dr. Carlson´s Association. His theory is that one should try to walk, no matter how; what is important is to succeed in doing so; to walk, dress and eat independently. At some point, they placed an iron device in my legs, which I did not tolerate for more than two months. At that time, I was approximately 10 years of age and I learned English. In one year, I also succeeded at walking.
When my parents learned that I was walking, they came for me and took me to Holland. Years later, they decided to immigrate to the United States where I registered at Ripon University and graduated in Psychology.
The next step was to look for a formal job. After two years, I was given the opportunity to work at an American Government Institution, where I performed duties related to helping solve problems for underprivileged people.
Due to a surgery I had, I had to retired before my time.
In 1995, I decided to move to the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. There I continued with my greatest hobby, which was painting. The happy colors of this land have fed my spirit to create my work.
In 2004, I had the good fortune of being accepted as a scholarship grantee by the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in the City of Mexico. This represented not only a valuable economic backing, but the enormous satisfaction of being part of a group of artists with different capacities just like mine.
The path I´ve travelled during my lifetime has been very difficult. But painting, which was only a hobby at first, has now become the light in my life. Another one of my activities is being a Rehabilitation Counselor, which allows me the opportunity to convey my experience and encourage other people to move forward in life.