Established in 1958
Brief Summary of the History of the AMFPA
In 1947, Arnulf Erich Stegmann resolved that in future he would work together with all his colleagues who, like himself, create works of art using the mouth or foot. So it came about that, in 1957, the first General Assembly was held in Vaduz, to carry out the official founding of the AMFPA. This was the beginning of the 50-year success story.
Besides President Arnulf Erich Stegmann, the Managing Board was composed of the artists Corry F. Riet from the Netherlands and Charles Pasche from Switzerland, as well as Legal Advisor Dr. Dr. Herbert Batliner.
Right at the beginning, an important milestone relating to the openness of the AMFPA was achieved through the following additional passage which was ncluded in the statutes: “The AMFPA has a neutral attitude with regard to eligious, philosophical and political beliefs. Any preferential treatment or iscrimination due to the religious, philosophical or political beliefs of a member is therefore impermissible.” Thus, the Association formally showed its great espect for all disabled artists, irrespective from which part of the earth or cultural group they may come. Parallel to the General Assembly, art exhibitions and joint leisure activities were conducted. This supporting programme was thus a fixed part of General Assemblies and Delegates’ Conventions right from the start.
Edenburg 1959. Third General Assembly
Due to the passing away of Corry F. Riet, the later President Marlyse Tovae from Switzerland was elected to the Managing Board at the 3rd General Assembly in 1959 in Edinburgh. Four years later, the AMFPA had already achieved its aim of having artists from all the earth’s continents as members of the Association. From this point on, it was a worldwide-active organisation, which championed the interests of disabled mouth and foot painters in order to enable them to live free from financial hardship. From the time of this 5th General Assembly, the AMFPA already numbered 54 full members and scholarship holders. Due to the extremely rapid increase in members from non-European countries, a change concerning the General Assembly was now necessary. The Delegates’ Convention now became the highest organ of the AMFPA and was composed of representatives from three electoral groups. These were: Europe and Africa, all South, Central and North American countries, and the rest of the world.
Every electoral group with at least seven members could send a member to the Delegates’ Convention. Among the tasks of this Delegates’ Convention were the election of the Managing Board and also the passing of resolutions concerning any change to the statutes. At that time, it was laid down in the statutes that the President and Founder, Arnulf Erich Stegmann, had been elected by the General Assembly for life.
Toronto 1965. First Delegates Convention
The first Delegates’ Convention took place in 1965 in Toronto.
As well as the Managing Board members, six delegates of the electoral groups and six guest delegates from North and South America also gathered in Toronto, to participate in this Assembly. In addition, it was the first time that an Assembly was held outside Europe. President Stegmann joyfully announced that the number of members had now reached 80, and the Association was at that point already represented in 25 countries of the world.
With the 2nd Delegates’ Convention in Bombay, a meeting of the AMFPA was for the first time held in the eastern part of the globe. From this time onwards, the Association was also represented in Turkey, Israel and Kenya.
In the same year, the later AMFPA President Eros Bonamini was received into the Association as a full member. At the President’s recommendation, Wladimiro Bubola was appointed the first honorary member of the Association. The rapid growth of the AMFPA from a loose alliance of a few mouth and foot painters to a worldwide-active association with more than 100 members called for a change in the statutes regarding its name. Thus, the name “Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists” was changed to the “Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World”. This official name was destined to remain valid right up to the present day.
Year by year, the Association was attracting ever more public attention. One contributing factor was certainly the large number of exhibitions which were organised by the Association and its publishing house partners. Painting demonstrations, at which mouth and foot painters displayed their painting techniques live, always aroused great interest. This is the only way for people without physical disabilities to understand what an extraordinary achievement it is to paint motifs with such faithfulness to detail by mouth or foot.
The Association Mourning its Founding President. Arnulf Erich Stegmann
On 5th September 1984 the Founder, Arnulf Erich Stegmann, passed away at his hometown and place of residence Deisenhofen near Munich. Mouth and foot painters all over the world mourned for their Founder, to whom they owed so much.
Due to the passing of Erich Stegmann, the election of a new President had to be carried out at the 7th General Assembly in 1985 in Madrid. The choice fell on the French foot painter Marlyse Tovae, whereby she was elected President of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World.
In 1991, the Managing Board started a tradition which was important for the members – namely, an Artists’ Gathering to be held at regular intervals, at which mouth and foot painters could deepen their friendships with one another. The first such gathering took place in 1991 in Taipei, and was hailed very enthusiastically by the participants; many more were to follow over the subsequent years.
60 Years of AMFPA
60 years ago, on the initiative of Arnulf Erich Stegmann, 16 founding members met in Vaduz to hold the first general meeting of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World there. In this way, not only was the Vereinigung der mund- and fussmalenden KOnstler in aller Welt (VDMFK) founded, but this moment was actually the start of a success story which, with currently around 800 artists in 74 countries, has nowhere near yet reached an end.
At the time, Arnulf Erich Stegmann was himself already a recognized artist, and he wanted to enable other people who, like him, were only able to paint with their mouth or foot to share this experience. After the bleak years he had lived through in Germany, he found an oasis of peace, safety and stability in Liechtenstein, making it the right place to establish a self-help organization which even 60 years later is still in a class of its own.
In the meantime, this independent self-help organization has grown to 800 mouth and foot painters from more than 74 countries. Despite great obstacles, thanks to the VDMFK they have all found access to art. With this new perspective, they strive every day to demonstrate their painting skills again and again, and thus support this self-help organization with dignity and consideration.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary celebrations, a plenary meeting and elections for the Board members were also held in Barcelona in April 2017. The mouth and foot painting artists have always elected their President and Board members themselves, and they also decide on the key strategic decisions of the VDMFK.
Following the death of Board member Trevor Wells from New Zealand and the age-related retirement of Mr Manuel Parreilo from Spain, eight members from four different continents stood for election to these two seats. On 11 April 2017, 99 mouth and foot painting artists elected Ms Soon-Yi
Together with the other six Board members, they have the task of defining the VDMFK’s business policy for the next six years, an honourable but also extremely challenging task. The management congratulates the two new Board members on being elected and wishes them both much success.
As well as the plenary meeting, between 9 and 14 April 2017 there were also celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the VDMFK. On the Monday evening the newly-published book “60 Jahre VDMFK – Geschichte, Kilinstler and Werke ” 60 Years of the VDMFK – History, Artists and Pictures, “was also presented.
This highly attractive book is published in four languages, and can be ordered directly from the VDMFK or via the collaborating publishers. Time and again occasions of this kind offer the artists from all over the world an opportunity of exchanging views with like-minded people and making acquaintances for life. A highlight of this week was the opening of the exhibition of the mouth and foot painting artists’ work in the Museu Maritim de Barcelona. The well-known journalist Gloria Serra welcomed the mouth and foot painting artists. Amongst other things, the opening speech was given by the Catalan Culture Minister Santi Vila i Vicente and all the honorary guests were presented with a lift copy of the 60 Years book