Tasks and Goals
The mouth- and footpainters are people who, as a result of accident, disease or congenital handicap, have lost the creative ability of their hands. Many of them are confined to bed or wheelchair. In their everyday lives they depend on help of other people. Despite of their fate these people did not give up, they keep on developing their talent of art and they paint in their "unusual way". They hold the brush in their mouth or foot. We can find them all over the world, they know about each other, they are members of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Worldwide.
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.
This organization, seated in the Principality of Liechtenstein, was founded by Mr. Erich Stegmann. He was a mouthpainter. At the age of two, as a result of disease, he became paralysed in both his hands. Erich Stegmann was a very talented artist and had great organization skills. At the beginning he was contacting personally his handicapped colleagues from different parts of the world. The number of artists increased and originated the above-mentioned Association of painters in 1956. Step by step, publishers in more than 40 countries all over the world were starting up under the leadership of the Association, with the aim to present the handicapped painters to the public in the respective countries. It was in 1993 when the publishing houses in the Czech Republic started up.
People all over the world know the mouth and footpainting artists mainly from postcards – congratulation cards. Different Christmas cards or Easter cards, congratulation cards for special occasions and calendars show us their work. The publishers themselves or in cooperation with the Association organize regularly expositions of the paintings of the disabled artists. The common incentive and aim of these painters has always been to show the public that even a handicapped person lives effectively, creates and works according to his abilities like any other people. He tries to get his way, to create something for others, to be helpful. His paintings are full of optimism and joy. We often realize the real and true values of life more intensively, when we can see how the paintings are created.
In the Czech Republic the mouth and foot painters and their artworks are represented by the Publishers UMÚN, s.r.o., seated in Liberec. The Publishers UMÚN not only concentrate the attention on the mouth and foot painting artists, but also try to contact other people with physical disabilities. For their activities and the preparation of consignments the Publishers preferably employ people with disabilities and offer them especially the so much required homework. That is how the Publishers UMÚN fulfil and implement the idea that Mr. A. E. Stegmann, the founder of the Association, promoted already in the 1950s. “To employ people with disabilities, according to their possibilities, into working process, and to enable them to earn money by themselves, by their own effort."