Life is Beautiful!

Exposition at the European Parliament of Danka Pekarovičová, an artist who paints only with her feet because of her health condition

Danka Pekarovičová is an artist from Vrbove, Slovakia, who paints only with her feet because of her health condition. She is a member of the International Association of Mouth and Feet Painting Artists in Liechtenstein, an initiative of publishing centre UMUN. She found her passion for art as a child and has not stopped painting since then. Her art reinterprets the world of “ordinary” people and presents it from her own perspective. Through paintings Ms. Pekarovičová expresses not only her feelings, moods and views but also her Christian faith.

When she was 6 months old, Danka (picture on the left) was diagnosed with cerebral palsy extrapyramidal, dyskinetic syndrome. None of the doctors wanted to tell her parents what they should be prepared for. Danka was their first child. Throughout the years, they have visited with Danka different rehabilitation centres, spas, but her health condition was not improving. Time was passing by and her mother gave birth three other kids. Danka observed them in different activities and soon she started to copy their behaviour. She started to browse through books with help of her feet. Shortly after she took a pencil to her toes and she drew her first lines on the paper that she put against the couch. At the age of nine, she started to paint simple flowers, faces etc. She even started to write in simple print letters. Her curiosity started to grow. Danka was fascinated by all the colours and shapes, which she found in books and magazines. All the pictures she has painted were done by laying down on the couch. Later on, her family managed to buy her a little chair in which she could sit in and paint. These were the beginnings of her painting journey. When she was 15, Danka started to visit children center for pathophysiology, where she was under supervision of professionals focused on psychology, rehabilitation and speech therapy. The director of the centre reached out to one academic painter who came to check Danka’s paintings. He encouraged her family to support Danka in painting as much as they could, saying she was very talented. Danka became a member of the international association of mouth and feet painting artists in Liechtenstein.

Danka was very impressed by stories from fairy tales, bible patterns and movies. Danka has begun to learn to mix colour tones. Her drawings are characterized by a line structure that cannot be overlooked. This creates graphic black-and-white look that contain a mysterious subtlety. Currently, Danka works with tempera paints, oil and acrylic paints. She uses new art supplies such as a small paint roller or paint spatula. The teacher had to adapt her painting to her feet. 

The exhibition in the European Parliament that took place from 21st to 28th June is the result of the joint effort of both Danka and her art teacher but mainly of her parents and siblings, who are very carefully looking after her, also being Danka’s mouth to the world to tell her story in a way she would if she could.