Packing up office and moving to a new town 1200km away cannot be easy, but after 56 years this is exactly what the Association of Mouth and Foot Painters (AMFP) is doing. They have closed their offices in Johannesburg and are relocating to George.

“I have found that there is a bigger appreciation and culture for art in the Garden Route, which offers our artists a wider range of possible buyers. People here still have time for each other and are much friendlier,” says the Director of the AMFP, Yvonne Labuschagne.

The Association was established in 1958 by the late foot and mouth artist Arnold Stegmann. Yvonne started her involvement 23 years ago and today this is still the only branch in South Africa. They accommodate foot and mouth artists from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, but on one from the Garden Route yet.

“We invite all relevant artists in the area to join our association”, says Yvonne.

The AMFP’s catalogue boasts with various items to choose from. Amongst their popular designer calendars and cards that we have come to know and love, they also have desk pads, diaries, telephone books, mouse pads, wallets, wooden key or cloth holders, soap and toothbrush holders, cutting boards, place mats and much more.

According to Yvonne, this not only simplifies Christmas shopping, but they can also supply a variety of corporate gifts to accommodate businesses. The chosen artworks are reproduced and printed onto the items.

Yvonne says that most of the artists who are part of the association became disabled due to motorcar and diving accidents. “The minority was born with their disability.” These artists try their utmost to be self-sufficient and the money they earn from their paintings is used to achieve this.

“Like us, they have day-to-day expenses, they just have more than us as they have to pay for, amongst others, carers and in some cases specialised facilities over and above all the general expenses,” explains Yvonne.

Each year the artists receive bursaries to buy their paints, brushes, canvases and other materials.

The Association will officially open its doors in York Street at the beginning of February 2015 and Yvonne invites everyone to visit. 

“We would love to get as many artists involved as possible and we appreciate all the support we can get from the community. It’s for a remarkably worthy cause and without the community’s assistance we would not be able to keep our heads above the water.”