Mouth & foot painting artists bring to life ‘People’s Democracy’ for The Great Indian Election

Mouth and Foot Painting Artists highlight the scale and impact of India’s largest democratic exercise through unique art pieces that are a true representation of the celebration of democracy.

author_img Joy S Published :  13th August 2019 09:31 PM   |   Published :   |  13th August 2019 09:31 PM
Details of a painting by Sunita Thrippanikkara

Details of a painting by Sunita Thrippanikkara

India, August 13, 2019: National Geographic’s The Great Indian Election is scheduled to premiere this Independence Day and will showcase the mammoth exercise of conducting the world’s largest elections.

The film also focuses on highlighting an inclusive India, and ahead of its premiere, the brand is showcasing the film posters, which have been designed by specially-abled artists belonging to The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Association (MFPA)’.

Every poster showcased by the brand is an artist’s own interpretation of ‘People’s Democracy’. 

Through this initiative, National Geographic aims to bring to the forefront an inclusive society in a country that truly represents a picture of unity in diversity.

The artists representing The Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Association (MFPA) came together to create artworks capturing their interpretation of People’s Democracy; their perception of a free and fair India, the freedom of choice to elect a new government and the hope it brings with it. 

These artists namely Bandenawaz Nadaf, Manoj Bhingare, Sheela Sharma, Swapna Augustine, Ganesh Kumar, Jesfer Pulikkathody, Mridul Ghosh, Srilekha Mandallapalli and Sunita Thrippanikkara have explicitly illustrated a barrier-free and inclusive India with an aspiration for a better life, society and country to live in and call their own.

Icons in their own right, they have used their creative abilities to one-of-a-kind paintings that capture their interpretation of People’s Democracy; their perception of a free and fair India, the freedom of choice to elect a new government and the hope it brings with it.

These art pieces are a true representation of celebration of democracy. Through this initiative, National Geographic aims to bring to the forefront an inclusive society in a country that truly represents a picture of unity in diversity. 

The association mirrors the quintessence of National Geographic’s documentary on The Great Indian Election that captures the inspiring story of human grit and determination in conducting the gigantic task of elections in India, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.

The exclusive Independence Day film will bring to the forefront rarely told human stories of the people behind this mammoth event. The film will bring to life a festive celebration of democracy on a day that is all about India. 

Commenting on the association for the upcoming documentary a National Geographic spokesperson said, “With inclusive India being a fundamental pillar of our democracy, there couldn’t have been a better way of celebrating a multifaceted and inclusive nation than joining hands with these artists while presenting a democratic India to our viewers."

"Keeping this as a bedrock of our special film on the Lok Sabha 2019 election, not only have we captured the complexities of conducting this exercise, but have also focused on human stories of Elections where people from diverse backgrounds come together."

 

 

MEET THE ARTISTS

Bandenawaz Nadaf

 

Bandenawaz Nadaf
DOB: 5th February 1987
Place of Birth: Mumbai
Painting Style: Foot Painter
Member of MFPA since 2015
Nationality: India

Bandenawaz Badshah Nadaf was born into a poor family in Mumbai on 5th February 1987. However, his parents were devastated to discover that Bandenawaz had come into this world with a birth defect of both his upper limbs, that is, his right hand with a very short stump and the absence of a left hand.

Bandenawaz's father was a driver and his 2 brothers are labourers. His mother is a housewife. However, despite their difficulties, Bandenwaz's family helped him to learn to write with his foot. He attended a Hindi medium school up to Class VIII and was a very good student.

Slowly, his love for art blossomed and he began to paint with his foot. Soon he became an accomplished foot painter and won prizes in several Inter-school and national level art competitions in India.

Bandenawaz is totally independent in the activities of daily living like eating, dressing, shaving, and bathing, etc. He is also a very good cook and can play the tambourine. He is an excellent swimmer and won two gold medals in the National Swimming Championship for the Disabled.

He is also a Yellow Belt in Karate and also learned to drive a four-wheeler on his own. Overall, other than being an accomplished foot painter, he is a wonderful sportsman who has participated in the Mini Olympics for the Disabled and won several prizes in various disciplines.

Ganesh Kumar



Ganesh Kumar
DOB: 15th October 1969
Painting Style: Mouth painter
Member of MFPA since 1988
Nationality: India

Ganesh Kumar was born in Kannur, a small town in Kerala. At the age of just one, he was affected by polio but despite his disability, Ganesh started writing and painting at the age of just three years.

Gradually, over a period of time, Ganesh lost the complete use of his hands and feet, thereby confining the mouth painting artist to a wheelchair for life. Slowly he began to use his mouth to write and paint.

He did not attend formal school but yet learned to read and write in English. Everything he does is self-taught including mouth painting. At the moment Ganesh. Kumar's work consists of over 3000 paintings. Ganesh Kumar has been a member of the MFPA since 1988.

 

Jesfer Pulikkathody


 
Jesfer Pulikkathody
DOB: 2nd January 1985
Place of Birth: Malappuram
Painting Style: Mouth painter
Member of MFPA since 2009
Nationality: India

Jesfer Pulikkathody was born on 2 January 1985 in Malappuram, a small town in Kerala, India. He has been suffering from muscular dystrophy for the past several years, which means that almost his entire body is paralysed from the neck down.

While still at school, he painted using his hands, but due to the progression of the disease, he had to quit school. Over the years he learned to write and paint with his mouth.

After reading the autobiography of the then president of India, Dr Abdul Kalam, he was so inspired and touched that he painted the President's portrait and had the opportunity to present it to him personally.

In the year 2007, he was chosen for a prize awarded by the Kodamkanthath International Art Foundation.

 

Manoj Bhingare



Manoj Bhingare
Place of Birth: Surat
Painting Style: Foot Painter
Member of MFPA since 2009
Nationality: India

Manoj was only ten years of age when he lost his hands in a bus accident. The only child of his parents, who live in Surat, Manoj's father drives an autorickshaw and his mother works as a house-maid.

Despite his disability, Manoj never gave up and completed his schooling as well as earned a degree in Fine Arts from CN Vidhalaya. His dream was to become an artist and he decided to fulfil his dream overcoming his handicap.

Manoj has also done a course in computer applications and has learnt to use his foot to type and control the mouse. In 1999, Manoj won the Rashtriya Balashri Award for Painting that was presented to him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

 

Mridul Ghosh


 
Mridul Ghosh
DOB: 4th June 1988
Place of Birth: Gruah
Painting Style: Mouth painter
Member of MFPA since 2017
Nationality: India

Mridul Ghosh was born in Gruah, India, on 4 June 1988. Mridul used to live together with his mother, brother, and sister. When his father died, he left all the responsibility for the family on Mridul's shoulders. He then joined the Indian Air force.

While on active service in 2010, he was involved in an accident in which he injured his spinal cord and paralysed from the neck down. After three years of treatment, he was discharged from the service in 2013. He now leads his life confined to a wheelchair at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre in Pune.

He felt his passion for painting early on in his life but could not live out his dream because there was nobody to teach and guide him. He is now trying to live out his passion during this new stage in his life.

Painting has given his life a new perspective, he sees the world through the various colours of his paintbrush.

 

Sheela Sharma



Sheela Sharma
DOB: 15th July 1968
Place of Birth: Gorakhpur (UP)
Painting Style: Foot painter
Member of MFPA since 1999
Nationality: India

Sheela Sharma was born in Gorakhpur (UP) in 1968. She met with a train accident at the tender age of only four years and lost both of her arms in the mishap. Sheela was sent to a local primary school where she proved to be an excellent student and developed the faculty of holding articles with her mouth and feet which, in normal circumstances, would have found their place between her thumb and finger.

Sheela was fond of making photographs and drawing sketches of people and natural scenes right from her childhood. She used to make geometrical diagrams, biological drawings of frogs, birds etc for her friends and even teachers, besides preparing her own practical file.

After having completed her school education, Sheela succeeded in successfully completing her bachelor's degree in fine arts. During her school days, she participated in many art competitions where she was never a disappointed participant.

Sheela has been a member of MFPA since 1999 and has conducted several solo exhibitions including one at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai.

 

Srilekha Mandallapalli

 

Srilekha Mandallapalli
DOB: 8th June 1982
Place of Birth: Hyderabad
Painting Style: Mouth Painter
Member of MFPA since 2013
Nationality: India

Born with a rare congenital condition known as Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congenita that has almost paralyzed both her limbs, Srilekha Mandallapalli is confined to a wheelchair and requires help with all her daily chores.

Despite her tragic health condition, Srilekha's love for art blossomed at a very young age but her disability never stopped her from becoming an accomplished mouth painter. After completing her graduation in 2003, she started fabric painting soon after and graduated to oil painting in 2007.

Her main aim is to motivate and help others with disabilities like herself and she also conducts Motivational workshops at Institutes/Schools and Corporates. With so much love for art, she also started Art classes for kids of all age group. 

 

Sunita Thrippanikkara

 

Sunita Thrippanikkara
DOB: 7th January 1983
Place of Birth: Kannur, Kerala
Painting Style: Mouth painter
Member of MFPA since 2004
Nationality: India

On account of muscular dystrophy, Sunita's body gradually lost its strength, and in the course of time, she lost the use of her hands and became unable to walk. Mouth painter Ganesh Kumar (long-time scholarship holder with MFPA) encouraged the young artist to paint with her mouth.

She enjoyed it very much and rapidly made considerable progress. Sunita is a member of the MFPA since 2004 and has made beautiful paintings of Gods and Goddesses of India.

‘The Great Indian Election’ will premiere on August 15, 2019 at 1 pm on National Geographic. The documentary will be available on Hotstar as well.

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