Alison Lapper

po_Lapper-Alison5bAlison Lapper (born April 7, 1965) is an English artist who was born without arms.

She is the subject of the sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, which was on display in Trafalgar Square until late 2007.

When she was fitted with artificial limbs, she experienced them only as an attempt to make her look less disconcerting instead of actually helping her. So she abandoned them and learned to live without external aids. At the age of 19, Lapper left Chailey Heritage School and moved to London. She acquired a driving license and a flat. Lapper studied in The Faculty of Arts and Architecture at the University of Brighton and graduated with a first class honors degree in Fine Art in 1994.

Lapper uses photography, digital imaging and painting to question physical normality and beauty, using herself as a subject. She paints with her mouth. One particular influence is the sculpture Venus de Milo, due to the physical similarities between the idealized classical female statue and Lapper’s own body. She has taken part in various British exhibitions, including in the Royal Festival Hall. She is a member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World (AMFPA). In May 2003, Lapper was awarded an MBE for her services for art.

po_Lapper-Alison4bAfter she had given birth to her son Parys in 1999, she created an installation of photographs of herself with him. Lapper and her son have featured on the ongoing BBC television documentary Child of Our Time.

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She posed for Marc Quinn for the sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant. Made of Carrara marble, it shows Lapper nude and heavily pregnant. It occupied the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square between September 2005 and late 2007, and a large replica featured in the 2012 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony.

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