Randi Viereck, Danish manager of Mund-og Fodmalende Kunstneres (MFK), part of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (AMFPA), salutes one of the organisation’s most famous artist members, Alison Lapper. Last night her statue by sculptor, Mark Quinn, was centre stage during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics in London.
“It was a very poignant moment as its defiant image not only captures Alison as a person, but also what many of the disabled athletes and AMFPA artists have had to overcome to be able to achieve something special. It represents their struggle and inspiring stores against adversity,” explained Randi.
In 2005, the original statue was unveiled as that year’s subject for the forth plinth at the base of Admiral Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. English visual artist Marc Quinn was of a friend of Alison who agreed to pose in the nude when she was eight months pregnant with her son Parys.
Like Nelson, Alison has not allowed her disability to get in the way, and her driven approach to her work as an artist has enabled her to achieve great success in her chosen field of art. Here too, the qualification of ‘disabled’ is an irrelevance; it’s the quality of the work that counts, not the fact that she holds the paint brush in her mouth.
Randi continued, “In Denmark our artist members exhibit this same drive and determination to succeed through their art. Their enthusiasm and painting skills have done so much over the years to advance the aims and reputation of this world wide partnership.”
The fourth plinth was originally intended for a King William IV statue, but a lack of funds meant it remained empty. Since 1998, it has been one of the most high profile sites for contemporary public art in London.
The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists is a wholly owned, international self-help organisation of seriously disabled artists who take pride in earning their own living by painting with a paint brush held in their mouth or between their toes. A panel of senior AMFPA artists select from the collection of painted images created by Danish artists and their fellow artists from around the world. These chosen images are then reproduced and sold to the general public as cards and calendars, benefitting the AMFPA’s more than 800 artists in over 75 countries worldwide.
For more information about Mund-og Fodmalende Kunstnere, visit www.mfk.dk.