Alison Lapper, 1961–

Alison Lapper has phocomelia and was born without arms and with shortened legs. Since her childhood, she has lived in homes and has had little contact with her kinship. The mother saw her child for the last time at the age of four months; later Lapper saluted herself with her.

When she was fitted with arm prostheses , she did not feel it helpful, but as an attempt to make her appearance less disturbing; she refused and learned to live without artificial help. At the age of 19, Lapper left the home and moved to London, where she obtained the driving license. Lapper studied at the University of Brighton and earned a first class degree in Fine Arts in 1994 .

Lapper uses photography , computer graphics and painting in her works, which, as she puts it, ask questions about physical normality and beauty. She paints with her mouth. The sculpture Venus of Milo , which tells Lapper something about similarities between the idealized female image and Lapper’s body, gained a special influence . She has participated in various British art exhibitions, for example at the Royal Festival Hall . She is a member of the association of mouth and foot painters . In May 2003, Lapper was awarded the MBE for her work in art.

After the birth of her son Parys in 1999, who was born without physical problem, she elaborated an installation of photographs that she showed together with him.

Alison Lapper MBE is an artist, television presenter and speaker. See works at http://www.alilapper.com

Alison has a First Class Honors Degree in Fine Art and is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting ArtistsClick here to find out more about her artwork.

 In 2016, after featuring as a subject in many documentaries throughout her life, Alison began a new career as a presenter for television. She co-presented No Body’s Perfect for BBC4 with the photographer Rankin, followed by her own take on William Blake for Sky Arts in 2017. Click here to find out more about Alison’s television career.

She is a well known public figure and regularly gives talks about her life. Born with no arms and shortened legs, Alison was institutionalised at six weeks old and spent her next 17 years at Chailey Heritage in Sussex. At the age of 19, she obtained a driving licence and her own flat, and began to live her daily life independently. Audiences at her talks range from the Royal College of Midwives to local voluntary groups. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a talk with Alison.

Her autobiography My Life in My Hands (Simon & Schuster, 2006) has been translated into 9 languages, and can be purchased here.

In 2005, artist and friend, Marc Quinn, erected the statue Alison Lapper Pregnant in Trafalgar Square. He wanted the statue on the Fourth Plinth to celebrate “someone who has conquered their own circumstances, rather than someone who has conquered the outside world”. 

In 2012, an inflatable replica of the statue was a centrepiece in the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

See below for a short video from ITV News, where Alison discusses the statue and people’s perception of it.

Alison has a First Class Honors Degree in Fine Art and is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting ArtistsClick here to find out more about her artwork.

In 2016, after featuring as a subject in many documentaries throughout her life, Alison began a new career as a presenter for television. She co-presented No Body’s Perfect for BBC4 with the photographer Rankin, followed by her own take on William Blake for Sky Arts in 2017. Click here  to find out more about Alison’s television career.

She is a well known public figure and regularly gives talks about her life. Born with no arms and shortened legs, Alison was institutionalised at six weeks old and spent her next 17 years at Chailey Heritage in Sussex. At the age of 19, she obtained a driving licence and her own flat, and began to live her daily life independently. Audiences at her talks range from the Royal College of Midwives to local voluntary groups. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a talk with Alison.

Her autobiography My Life in My Hands (Simon & Schuster, 2006) has been translated into 9 languages, and can be purchased here.

In 2005, artist and friend, Marc Quinn, erected the statue Alison Lapper Pregnant in Trafalgar Square. He wanted the statue on the Fourth Plinth to celebrate “someone who has conquered their own circumstances, rather than someone who has conquered the outside world”.

In 2012, an inflatable replica of the statue was a centrepiece in the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

See below for a short video from ITV News, where Alison discusses the statue and people’s perception of it.  https://youtu.be/1iz2TLBLWhA

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 Opening Ceremony Paralympics 35 foot version, London, 2012