Mouth and Foot
By Rafiq Ebrahim
Glen Ellyn IL
by any disability, many succumb to the blow and
give up all hopes of living a normal life or resuming
the usual daily activities. They feel shattered,
depressed and begin living in negativity, depending
on help and assistance from others.
But there are others who courageously brave the
storm, fight all odds and come out successful in
life. They believe that success begins with a dream
and the determination to make it come true, no matter
what obstacles they have to overcome.
In Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in the early sixties,
a number of disabled artists formed an organization
called The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. Here,
talented artists, who lost the ability to use their
hands due to illness, accident or some birth defect,
produce unique works of art with the brush held
by mouth of foot. The organization offers them the
opportunity of living independently and with dignity
through the sales of their inspirational works,
reproduced as greeting cards, calendars, gift tags
and book marks through out the world, and not force
them to live on charity.
Some years back, The Coca Cola Company at their
headquarters in Atlanta held an exhibition of over
160 paintings created by these artists. It was a
big success and the artists received due recognition
along with monetary benefits.
Some of the gifted artists who are associated with
the organization are Brom Wikstrom, Nancy Rae Litteral,
Cindi Bernhardt, Stanley Obvitsky and a lot of others
whose works are exhibited and bought all over the
Brom Wikstrom was a twenty-one-year old art student,
when he became a quadriplegic as a result of a driving
accident. During rehabilitation Brom started to
paint holding a brush in his mouth, never doubting
he would continue to pursue his artistic career.
His paintings are now sold in many countries.
Nancy Rae Litteral, from Ohio, became paralyzed
from neck down because of a car accident when she
was just eighteen. She has recently received ‘Outstanding
Cindi Bernhardt, from California, also became quadriplegic
at eighteen when she broke her neck in a fall. She
has attained such a proficiency in her paintings
that many celebrities, like actor Morgan Freeman,
buy her works.
Stanley Obritsky, from New Jersey, had an audience
with late Pope John Paul II in Rome, and was highly
applauded for his work.
Paintings of Michael Monaca currently decorate the
lobby of Rutgers University in New Jersey.
A visit to this unique Art Organization would make
you believe that really there is nothing impossible
in the world.