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MEDIA RELEASE 12 February 2009

Franklin mouth painting artist to display artwork in exhibition
Franklin resident and Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) member Grant Sharman will be entering his artwork entitled 'Mosquito Fighter Bomber' in the annual Bruce Hopkins Memorial Art Awards.

The painting depicts a famous fighter bomber flown by New Zealanders in World War II, "I like to paint realistic artworks with challenging subject matter such as cars and planes. That's why I particularly enjoyed working on this painting for the awards," said Grant.

Grant Sharman started mouth-painting after an injury in a school rugby match left him a tetraplegic in 1977. He has been a full member of the association since 1988 and is one of the most active MFPA members in New Zealand, coordinating a number of events and exhibitions for fellow MFPA artists.

"It was Bruce Hopkins who originally introduced me to mouth-painting in 1980. I've entered the Bruce Hopkins Memorial Art Award every year since 1999," Grant said.

The Bruce Hopkins Memorial Art Awards started 18 years ago to commemorate Bruce Hopkins' contribution to the 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.

The awards will be judged and artworks displayed in the Auckland spinal unit as part of The Association of Spinal Concerns (TASC) show off day on Saturday, 21 February.

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.

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 contact MFPA on (09) 827 6746.

Released for Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (
For further information please call Anthia Crosby or Nicola Rutzou on 61 2 9413 4244.

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