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Opotiki mouth-painting artist inspires local school students
Opotiki mouth-painting artist Kerrin Tilley inspired local primary school students at the 2006 Children’s Wellbeing Challenge on Wednesday 28 June by participating in a ‘Hands Off’ activity.

The Challenge, held at the Whakatane War Memorial Hall complex, was organised by local government and organisations and saw 160 primary school students competing against each other in fun activities to test their knowledge and values on topics such as friendship and disability.

Mouth and Foot Painting Artist (MFPA) member, Kerrin Tilley, began painting with a brush held in his mouth in 1988 after suffering a neck injury while playing rugby. He has been a member of the MFPA since 1992.

Kerrin says the ‘Hands Off’ activity was an interesting exercise for the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge participants.

“The students had a chance to write their name on a canvas without the use of their hands. It was interesting to see how they mastered the art of writing with a pen in their mouth.

“I received a lot of questions from the students about the MFPA and my art. They really enjoyed watching me demonstrate my mouth-painting technique and liked the artworks and greeting cards I had on display,” Kerrin said.

Coming up in September, Kerrin will participate in an Opotiki Society exhibition and silent auction where funds raised will go towards restoring the Heritage Art Society Hall.

Founded in 1956 by a group of European artists, the MFPA is a self-help organisation which gives people with disabilities the opportunity to fulfil their creative ambitions while still maintaining financial independence by selectively selling their artworks.

To become a member, an artist must qualify by painting using a brush held in either their mouth or foot, having lost the use of their hands through an illness or accident.

For further information on the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists or to place an order contact MFPA on (09) 827 6746.

Photo captions: 1. Students watch as Kerrin demonstrates his mouth painting technique 2.Two students try signing their name with a pen in their mouth.
Released for MFPA by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations.
For further information contact Kim Larochelle
or Aleks Czerwinski on (612) 9413 4244.

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