“Normal is what you define it to be, but it is never the same for anyone. At this point there is nothing stopping me from being my best version, not even my body. Actually, it does not matter for I am living my life the way I want. I am happy !! ” …… Says Jesfer
Jesfer P Kottakkunnu was born in Malappuram, Kerala, India. He was diagnosed with Muscular Atrophy at a very young age. and this caused gradual wasting of muscles . He is about 80% paralyzed from the neck down.
He had his interest in artwork and painting right from his childhood . He started pursuing painting while still in his primary school and was keen on making this as his profession. While still at school, he painted using his hands. But by the time when he was about 15 years old , the progression of the disease caused severe physical challenges. He was beginning to find it difficult to use his hand to write or paint. Not willing to give up his interest in painting , over the years he learned and perfected to write and paint with his mouth.
Though he discontinued his school , he completed his 12th. He soon plans to continue his education.
When Jesfer was in his X Std , he had met the then president of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Jesfer was inspired and motivated by Dr. Kalam’s ‘Dreams of Fire’. He started painting a portrait of the President and had an opportunity to present it to him personally. Dr.Kalam liked the portrait so much , that he appreciated this in the presence of thousands of people , and mentioned that Jesfer is an example of someone who chases their dream.
Even after so many years now , Jesfer believes that this is the biggest gift and appreciation he has received so far.
He had created paintings for well renowned Indian corporate companies like Kochin Dubai Port world, Ahuja Builders Mumbai and Nestle India.
Jesfer,s painting was selected, as the cover design of NESTLE INDIA’S Festive Creations chocolates at 2017.
Jesfer’s paintings can be found on the walls of many Corporate offices and with many collectors of art.
His Exhibitions always get good response. He has taken part and sometimes conducted exhibitions all over the world . In Dubai it was a huge success. Art for Inclusion conducted by India Inclusion Foundation was held in Bengaluru in 2019 . Jesfer was one amongst the Eight selected artists from the total 90 entrants.
Jesfer completed the biggest project in his career which is 15 square feet of oil painting on canvas of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Muhammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makthoum in 2017.
With many projects lined up, Jesfer is quite busy. But he takes time to work on other areas of his interest – mainly working in social activities. As a Disability Rights Activist he is quiet vocal about accessibility problems. Jesfer is closely associated with many projects including the Green Palliative’s Wheelchair Friendly Kerala campaign – which is a Human Rights and Environmental Welfare organisation
Since 2008 Jesfer is a member of Artists of the World-VDMFK. The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, is a registered society of differently abled artists that supports and promotes are foot and mouth artists , due to disability or disease. From a small group of 18 mouth and foot painting artists in 1956, the AMFPA has grown to over 800 artists that are currently represented in 78 countries
The Association reproduces the work of its member artists in the form of digital art prints, greeting cards, calendars and other delightful merchandise and markets it to individuals, corporate, schools and other institutions all over the word. Over the last 60 years, AMFPA has brought to the forefront, the aesthetic creations of its disabled artists by providing them a platform to express their artistic talent.
Jesfer says “I have struggled a lot. But I know whatever happens, there is a positive solution for everything.
Some Highlights & Achievements
Art exhibition & Events
# Painting Exhibitions-Calicut lalithakala academy art gallery at 2005 and 2007
# Art Exhibition-Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition centre in 2012
# Art exhibition and demonsration at Ahuja tower Mumbai
# 2014 Demonstration-Mentor magazine annual event at Lulu international convention centre Thrissur
# 2014 Demonstration at Hyper City Mall Mumbai For Nestle India 2017
# Jesfer’s paintings were exhibited at the Dubai Accessibility Expo in 2017 and 2019 at Dubai world trade center
#Awards and Honours
Kerala social justice department honorary award
KIAF – Kodamkanthath International Art Foundation award 2007
# Sangamithra art society kerala award 2009
# Face foundation of India honorary award 2014
# Thanima art and literary award 2013
# District panchayath excellency artist award 2014
# Kerala Ebility Foundation award 2016
# Tirur cafe honorary award 2016
Apart from paintings and portraits Jesfer also specializes in the following products
– Framed Or Non Framed Copies of Original Paintings with High Quality ( any of size )
– Greeting Cards, Book Marks And Tags, Mugs, Pen Holders, Art Calendars
– Key Chains & Clocks with your Logo and Painting
– Printed Paintings on T-Shirt, Printed Paintings on Paper Bags
– Any Printed Products as per requirements.
Please follow Jesfer on the Social Media platforms , and watch his videos on his YouTube Channel .