Two artists showcased their unique mouth-painting technique live for visitors to Manchester Piccadilly Station this week.

Leanne Beetham and David Cawthorne, who both paint using only their mouths, helped to celebrate the start of Christmas festivities in the city centre on behalf of the global association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.

The unexpected and original pieces of art paid homage to the Manchester Worker Bee as the artists reimagined the iconic symbol with a festive spin.

Based in Hull, Leanne Beetham was born with a condition known as Arthrogyrposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), which meant she would never be able to walk or use her arms.

She has always had a strong passion for animals and wildlife, both of which have become the subject of her paintings since joining the MFPA as a student artist in 2004. Today, Leanne painted the Worker Bee as a festive bauble hanging on a lit tree.

Fellow artist David Cawthorne, from West Yorkshire, chose to depict the Bee as a delivery drone, transporting a Christmas present.

David began painting in the ‘90s as a form of Occupational Therapy, a hobby which later developed into his career. Since joining the MFPA 20 years ago, his artwork has featured on greetings cards and calendars.  

The intricate artwork produced by Leanne and David will be donated to a local Manchester charity. The special festive pop-up is the first event for many years that the MFPA has held in the North of England, which plays home to 11 of the Association’s 32 UK based artists.

These artists are part of the more than 800 MFPA artists worldwide, who all paint with a brush held in their mouth or foot as a result of accident, birth defect or illness that prohibits them from being able to use their hands. 

Each year, MFPA artists’ original artworks are reproduced as Christmas cards and a wide range of other seasonal items. Sales of these products provide them with an income and the means to financial independence. It also enables them to attract new disabled artists and to help develop artistic talent within the organisation.



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