Home > Art and Photography > A Tribute to Lisa Bufano – A Performance Artist Despite Disabilities

A Tribute to Lisa Bufano – A Performance Artist Despite Disabilities

Lisa Bufano - performance artist - doll

Lisa Bufano An Inspiration (October 20th, 1972 – October 3, 2013)

I recently came across the story of Lisa Bufano, an incredible woman who despite becoming a bilateral below-the-knee and total finger-thumb amputee at the age of 21, went on to become a respected dancer and performer. When she was a child she was a competitive gymnast and a go-go dancer in college. She was in the prime of her life when struck with staphylococcus bacterial infection leaving her disabled.

Her work took on a bizarre quality and she was influenced by medical drawings, historical wax models, and dolls.

Lisa Bufano - performance artist - doll

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Lisa faced her disabilities by incorporating a variety of prosthetics and props, such as Queen Anne table legs as legs and arms, in her performances.

“My eye has always been drawn to abnormal forms… It’s just that now my tool is my body. I’m still animating a form, but it’s my own form… I’m not an astounding dancer… But being a performer with a deformity, I find that there’s a gut response in audiences, an attraction/repulsion aspect to it that can be compelling. I just hope that there’s a balance between that gut response and the substance of a performance.” Lisa Bufano


Lisa Bufano - Dance on stilts

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“I am fascinated by illusion and simple animation. I’m drawn to the creepiness of fakes, things that reveal, transform, or have hidden compartments.”  Lisa bufano


Lisa Bufano - performance artist

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Lisa Bufano ended her life October 3, 2013, leaving no suicide note. Her brother reflected on her death.

“I’m surrounded by speculation about why Lisa took her own life. Facebook, friends, family members, and her fans would all like to know. They want it to make sense to them. They want to feel okay. Ultimately they want her back.

But I am having great difficulty with all of this. Lisa didn’t like other people projecting their idea of who she was on her. We’ll never understand why. It will never make sense.

I believe she lived her entire life and that her life was many lives. I don’t believe it was cut-off short. Her mission was completed and she must have understood that fact when she departed from this world. She was alone with her dog in her home in the middle of the night.”

What an extraordinary woman with great determination and talent!



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