Mouth Foot Painting Artists (MFPA)

Unlike Sharity Greetings/Granton @ In the name of charity, MFPA (Mouth Foot Painting Artists) is a company selling paintings, greeting cards, calendars painted using mouth and foot because of accident, birth defects or illness. It’s not a NGO or charitable organization.

MFPA - vase of flowers

If you think that you’d rather send online greeting cards (because they are free and animated) and have no need for these, think again. If you are a company, imagine how your clients would feel like if you give MFPA calendar besides the usual hamper and premium gifts during festivals?

Personally, I tear up the greeting cards into 2 and send them as postcards – handy to enter contests :D

(click for bigger image sizes but if you want to print them, please buy from MFPA)

The dolphins greeting card & bookmark
MFPA - dolphins 2 MFPA - dolphins 1

Greeting cards
MFPA - peacocks MFPA - sparrows MFPA - peony flowers

Calendars by year
MFPA - lake Calendar MFPA - bird

The mail by MFPA
MFPA - 1 MFPA - 2

The Star Painting gives purpose:

Being physically challenged is no handicap to creating works of art, as Mat Jamil Ramli proves.

AT an art demonstration at the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) gallery in Ampang Park, Kuala Lumpur, Mat Jamil Ramli, 22, can only shake his head as I try my hand at painting a banana leaf.

“You have to blend the colour, not slap it on,” says the 22-year-old foot artist.

I hand the brush over to Jamil who receives it with his right foot. Then holding the brush with his toes, he proceeds to correct my faux pas.

Susan Woon and foot artist Mat Jamil Ramli.

“I learned to use my feet from a very young age. It came naturally,” he says.

Jamil, who started painting at age seven, joined MFPA a year ago after a neighbour, who had received a set of greeting cards from the association, showed him a brochure.

At the gallery, original artworks by MFPA artists line the walls. One watercolour depicts birds in flight. Another oil painting exudes the warmth of burning candles among sprigs of mistletoe.

The MFPA reproduces these artworks into greeting cards, wrapping paper, calendars, bookmarks etc.

Self-help, not charity, is the MFPA’s motto.

“I have always liked art. It was my favourite subject in school. I thought why not try to make a living out of it. After all, I did not want to be dependent on others,” says Jamil, who was born without hands.

While many disabled people are dependent on their families, Jamil can pride himself on being independent. He shares a rented bachelor’s pad with five friends in Serdang and is able to indulge in his love for fashion, music and aftershave.

This outgoing chap was also an athlete in the Paralympics and won a gold medal in the 100m sprint for Terengganu in 2005. He has been given a scholarship to do graphic design at The Mines ICT Able Training Institute.

But Jamil stresses that family support is very important.

An oil painting by Jamil called Manggis; a painting by a Japanese mouth painter.

“My parents didn’t give me special treatment despite being handicapped. I had to do my share of housework, like cooking and sweeping the floor,” says Jamil.

“My parents always encouraged me in all my endeavours. They don’t believe I can’t do something because I don’t have hands. It is all about adjusting (oneself to the situation). I think they would have even taught me how to farm if I had the interest,” says Jamil, of his Felda settler parents.

MFPA’s objective is to assimilate handicapped artists into society by giving them a purpose in life. MFPA manager Susan Woon observes that the main problem faced by most handicapped people is their lack of exposure to the world.

“A lot of families don’t like to reveal that they have a disabled family member because of the stigma,” she says.

“So it is not surprising that most handicapped people are very sad about their condition. What we do is try to prepare them mentally and get them back into the mainstream,” says Woon.

No doubt that behind every artwork lies a story of determination.

“Some of our artists suffer from violent muscle spasms so they have to sit by a wall to control their movements in order to paint. Then there are the bedridden ones.

“In the beginning, they may not even be able to draw a straight line. So for a handicapped artist to produce a painting of such high standard, he would have had to overcome much. You can liken this achievement to an able-bodied person conquering Mt Everest!” she says.

Still there are cynics who see the MFPA venture as a marketing ploy to gain sympathy from the public.

A painting by a Japanese mouth painter. — Pictures by GRACE CHEN

Woon had similar misgivings when offered the job to start MFPA in Malaysia in 1974. She had just left school.

“My thoughts were: ‘Were they serious? Was this a genuine organisation?’” she remembers.

A meeting with the late Yip Hei Kuan, a polio victim who lost the use of her hands, prompted Woon to look into the association’s background.

She found out that MFPA in Singapore is linked to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Worldwide (AMFPA) in Lichtenstein (a small principality between Austria and Switzerland).

Founded in 1956 by the late German mouth painter A.E. Stegmann, the association is an extended international family of artists who have lost the use of their hands.

Now convinced, Woon set up office in Malaysia and helped Yip submit six original paintings to the AMFPA for evaluation. Upon acceptance, Yip became MFPA Malaysia’s first member.

Today, the association has eight artists. Worldwide, there are over 600 members from 60 countries.

On the requirements of an MFPA artist, Woon says, “Our artists must be able to project their own creativity and style.’’

On average, each member produces four original paintings a month. MFPA, which is run as a private limited company, bears the printing costs of reproductions but the artists get 100% from the sale of original paintings. Products are sold via mass mailing during the festive seasons.

As the goods are mailed out before collecting payment, I wonder if MFPA isn’t taking a risk. What if the recipients skip payment?

“Mailing the greeting cards is an awareness campaign to reach out to rural areas. It’s also a way to keep costs down as hiring marketing people will be expensive. In the end, it’s about trust. We hope that the public will be fair. So far, we are lucky that we have very strong support from Malaysians,” says Woon.

“In the end, it is the foot and mouth artists who own the company. The income from this commercial venture will go to artist royalties and scholarships for new members,” she explains.

Woon also points out that there are no membership fees.

“When Yip was taken into the association, she was given an allowance of a few hundred ringgit. From this, she was able to get herself an art teacher and painting materials.

“I could see the change in her because she had found a purpose in life. Being financially independent really boosted her confidence,” says Woon. W

Who can join MFPA?
Any body who has lost the use of his hands and paints with the mouth or foot can become a potential member of the association. They must submit six paintings, a medical certificate stating that they are unable to hold a paintbrush with their hands, two photographs and a short biography.

All materials will be sent to the association’s headquarters in Lichtenstein for evaluation before one can be accepted as a member. MFPA can be contacted at (03) 2161 8860/8502.

Products by MFPA

MFPA in Malaysia

MFPA (MY)
Lot 327, 2nd Floor,
Ampang Park Shopping Centre,
Jln Ampang,
50450 KL.
P.O. Box 12431, 50778 KL.
+603 2161 8860/ 8502
MFPA (US)

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39 thoughts on “Mouth Foot Painting Artists (MFPA)

  1. I can imagine how difficult it is to draw with mouth and foot since it is so difficult to draw with hand. Anyway, my wife is an artist too.

    Thanks for dropping by my site.

  2. I’ve received a Chinese New Year greeting card painted by MFPA before, it’s really good & original. Even the colors doesn’t smudge and run out.
    After 10 years, I still keep it as a bookmark :D.

  3. Dear sir,

    Kindly let me know if i could help in a way by selling the cards of the foot & mouth painting artists. Awaiting your reply.
    Thanks & Regards,

    Satyanarayan.

  4. Satyanarayan, you can give MFPA a call and provide your address. MFPA will mail the cards, calendar, etc to you or maybe you can get special arrangement with them.

  5. tried to call several times on 06/02/2008, but no one pick up the phone. what’s your bank account numbers & which bank also. So i can transfer the payment to your account instead of writing a cheque.

  6. Pingback: Make Art, Die Happy » Blog Archive » Cut Off Your Arm to Push Your Boundaries

  7. I have always supported the arts and many charities. When asked I ordered an address book here and included a donation for the unsollisited callendar. My chech was cashed but to day I have not recieved my address book.

  8. good afternoon,

    i was wondering if i could join the mouth and foot painting artist, to get sent some things throw the post my friend told me about it and would like to do the same,
    i would be very greatful if you could sent me some details to my email address and i will forward my address,
    my friend got a letter throw the post about it and has been doing it for a few years now,

    regards

    carol

  9. Hai, I would like to buy a few CNY cards on behalf of my Company. Shall I have your contact number and the person’s name for my further clarification.

    Please revert as soon as possible since its already late for me to prepare.

    Thanks & Best regards

  10. Hi,

    I rarely go to Ampang Park area. Is it possible to purchase MFPA products via email or post ? If yes, kindly advise the procedures.

    Thanks & Best Regards

  11. Roland Selvanayagam – refer to Products by MFPA link in original post, the pricing is listed

    Janet Tan – you can request that they mail to you. I got mine via normal post delivery to home and then paid for the product. They wouldn’t mind if you pay first before getting the products :)

  12. could i please buy some christmas cards as we cant get any from the charity shops in brighton thank you as my mum gets them every year, but she has just lost her sight in her good eye and she thinks your painting are very good thanks again as above.

  13. Ive enjoyed so much your calendars and cards.I did pay for a order recently November st $28.90 I wanted an extra calendar I paid for extra hope ur sending me one.Exceptional paintings God bless these ppl and willm support this morganization ty mPat

  14. I sent a cheque for $41.90 – Apr 31/10 for products I had received. It has not yet been cashed and it has not been returned to me. I am sure that I used one of your return envelopes. If this cheque is not cashed in the next month, I believe it will become stale dated and not be cashable. Please check into this as soon as possible.

  15. I have the feeling that I owe you for a shipment. Will you please check your records to see if you have shipped me something that I have not paid for?

  16. Hi,
    I am thinking of bringing my students on a visit to your place where painting takes place.These are the volunteer students of counseling unit and we really like to come and see how we can help.
    Let us know where exactly your place is loctaed
    Thank you
    jen

  17. Last year I was given a calendar by a friend. It is spiral on top and opens like an easle. I kept it by my computer all year. Now I need one for 2011. I would be glad to make a donation, if someone would send me a calendar. It’s size 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 and just fits in the space by my computer. Thank you!

  18. Hello,
    I just received your package of card . I wonder if I can make my payments electronically. If so, please let me know the a/c no and I can make my payment and future payments electronically.
    Thank You,
    Meng See

  19. I just rec’d my book “Artists above all”. It was bought for a Christmas present but it got to me and I opened it.. Just Wonderful !! I may have to order one for me !
    I noted the date of the book and was wondering if another is planned. I would dearly love one on animals esp. dogs and cats !!!
    My best to all those wonderful talented people !
    Joncy Mariner

  20. I like the paintings and would like to pay. Next time please include other payment system like maybank2u, clickbank, visa etc…It is much convenient not to go to the post office etc….

  21. Awesome post on Mouth Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) | PASIM | Promotions and Sales in Malaysia! It is surely one of the best
    that I’ve found in a long time. We have been searching for these tips.

  22. Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your web site by accident, and I am surprised why this twist of fate didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

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