- Lea Haisch
Painting with the Lepers
When I first suggested painting, my friends with leprosy laughed. They thought it was hilarious, and their response was "children paint."
I told them that where I live, anyone can paint. I held up a paint brush and put it between the palms of my hands. I told them many people with disabilities could paint, and that if they didn't have fingers, they could use the palm of their hand. If they didn't have their hands, they could use their wrists. I explained that people also paint with the brush between their teeth. Or they paint with their feet. I sat on the ground and tried to show the foot painting technique. They probably laughed harder at the sight of me awkwardly perched with paintbrush between my feet than they have ever laughed before. It is my joy to hear them laugh, even if it is at my expense.
And so they painted. Cautiously at first, then with more confidence. They were quite good, with some being very simple and others more intricate.
And in those moments, sharing laughter and camaraderie, feeling artistic and confident, they forgot about their ailments and disease. They were lost in the world of expression through art. And beauty was created.