The roots of the MFPA go back to 1957, when Arnulf Erich Stegmann, a polio-stricken mouth painter, gathered a small band of disabled artists from eight European countries. Their ultimate goal was to make their living through their artistic efforts, and to obtain a sense of work security that until then had eluded them.
Coupling his creative abilities with business acumen, Stegmann established the MFPA as a co-operative organisation that reproduces its artists work mainly in the form of cards, calendars and books.
From the small group he gathered for the inaugural meeting of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, the group has now grown to represent nearly 750 members, from over 70 countries around the world.
One of the main themes of Stegmann’s credo was that the MFPA must never be regarded as a charity simply because its members are disabled. To Stegmann, the word “charity” was as abhorrent as the word “pity.” The Association maintains that it is not a charity and does not qualify for charitable assistance.
The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) is an international organization, controlled by its artist members, whose purpose is to:
The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists has been operating in SINGAPORE since 1982.
The Singapore MFPA is a member of the International Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (VDMFK), which conducts its affairs from the headquarters in Liechtenstein (https://www.vdmfk.com/en/). This location was originally chosen because of its neutral role in post-war politics, its central position in Europe and the advantages of the internationally acceptable Swiss Franc.
The managing board of the Association makes all of the important decisions and oversees the work of the few able-bodied administration and professional staff employed by the organization.
The Association’s administrative costs are closely controlled. A small number of able-bodied staff are employed to look after marketing, distribution and those matters with which the disabled artists need expert advice or cannot physically cope themselves.
The Association is run as a “democratic co-operative.” All the member artists have a voice in how it is run and it is owned by all of them.
The management procedures are governed by the statutes, which require that a Delegates Convention be held at least once every three years.
Delegates are chosen to represent Association members, who vote through postal ballot based on their region.
The Association divides the world into four regions, each region appoints at least one delegate for every five members.