MEDIA RELEASE 08 March
Hamilton mouth painter Toni Leefe takes second place in exclusive art awards
Hamilton mouth-painting artist Toni Leefe has been awarded second prize for her
painting entitled 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon' at the annual Bruce Hopkins Memorial
The Bruce Hopkins Memorial Art Awards started 19 years ago to commemorate Bruce
Hopkins' contribution to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and to
artists with disabilities throughout New Zealand. During the 1970s and 80s,
Bruce was the only New Zealand artist with a disability to belong to the MFPA
and was responsible for encouraging and inspiring people with disabilities to
start painting with a brush held in their mouth or foot.
Toni Leefe has been in a wheelchair for 16 years after a competitive
trampolining accident in which she broke her neck. She took up mouth painting
after leaving the Otara spinal unit and has been a student member of the MFPA
"Painting for me is a wonderful form of escape. I love concentrating on my art
and drifting off into whatever I'm painting. It's a great form of relaxation",
For over 40 years, the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists' Christmas cards and
calendars have been distributed to millions of households around Australia and
About the MFPA
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.
The MFPA was established in New Zealand in 1961 and currently has 20 members
around the country.
To become a student 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. Student members receive scholarships for art supplies and
tuition. Once an artist becomes a full member or associate they are guaranteed a
salary for life, even if they are unable to continue painting.
For further information on the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists or to place an
order contact MFPA on (09) 827 6746.
Released for MFPA by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)
For further information please call Nicola Rutzou on 61 2 9413 4244.