A unique collaboration of business and art is working to open doors for Halifax artists
Campaign on canvasBy Paula Bugden | Oct 4, 2012
When the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) organization asked Averill Barkhouse to paint an image representing Atlantic Canada for its new campaign, he didn’t hesitate.
Canvassing the Country: a Moving, Canadian Art Story is a collaborative project between seven MFPA members, which took six months to complete. A single canvas travelled from one artist to the next as they each painted a scene from their region.
Barkhouse, a self-taught artist and quadriplegic living in Centre Rawdon, has been a MFPA member for 21 years. His disability is the result of a vehicle collision in 1971. Unable to use his hands, he holds the paintbrush with his mouth.
MFPA, a for-profit organization, aims to help disabled artists make a living through their work and reproductions. “They’re very supportive and try to help out any way they can,” says Barkhouse. “Different projects like this have come up over the years and it’s great to be able to participate.”
He chose to paint a fall scene of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park for the campaign. Since he had to paint on the top left section of the canvas, Barkhouse got creative. “I can’t reach due to my limitations, of course, in a wheelchair and holding the paintbrush in my mouth,” he says. To solve the problem, he flipped the canvas and started painting upside down. “It’s a unique painting and…you’ll see why.”
The final piece for Canvassing the Country is complete, but plans on where it will be displayed are still up in the air. mfpacanada.com