“Over one million people in the UK have a significant disfigurement
to the face, hands or body as a result of a birthmark, congenital
condition, accident, warfare, post-cancer surgery, skin or eye
condition or facial paralysis.
Our first impressions of people who have disfigurements are often
less than positive, purely because of the value judgments that are
placed on appearance alone. In any encounter involving someone
who has a disfigurement, these assumptions can leave both parties
feeling unsure how to behave, anxious about saying the wrong
thing or looking in the wrong way.
So what happens when a portrait painter and a sitter with a
disfigurement come face to face? How does the painter address
the subject in order to communicate character and personality
beyond just a face? When does the portrait become successful?
Can the production of a portrait be used to open a dialogue about
facial disfigurement that overcomes communication barriers? How
can a portrait be used to engage the viewer and challenge social