ARTS & CULTURE

Armless Artist's UK Visa Woes Over Fingerprints Get More Kafkaesque

05/07/2013 01:18 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2013
The ATOM Project

A Kazakh artist born without arms, who was reportedly denied entry into the UK this spring for the surreal official reason that his fingerprints were of “poor quality,” may get in after all. Scroll down for a slideshow of his work.

“We’re engaging with the applicant to resolve the issue,” a British Home Office spokesperson told the Huffington Post.

But in a manner befitting this Kafkaesque story, any resolution will still be too little, too late. The artist, Karipbek Kuyukov, originally applied for the visa so he could attend an anti-nuclear conference in Edinburgh in April. When asked how a future trip might make up for that absence, the Home Office spokesperson suggested that Kuyukov was doomed from the start. “The application process takes a certain amount of time anyway,” he said. “It all depends on when he applied in the first place.”

Kuyukov maintains he did everything he could. Speaking to the BBC yesterday, the 44-year-old painter wondered if “they did not understand that I am disabled or check the information provided. But in my online visa application it was written that I am an artist and that I don't have hands. I paint by holding a brush in my mouth and between my toes."

In late April, Kuyukov posted a screengrab to his Facebook page of the now oft-quoted rejection letter from the British Consulate office in Istanbul. In it, the decision is twice blamed on poor quality “biometrics,” an umbrella term that Kuyukov told a Kazakh newspaper is defined elsewhere in the letter (via footnote) to specifically mean fingerprints.

A campaigner for nuclear disarmament, Kuyukov hails from Semipalatinsk, a notorious region known as "The Polygon," where the former Soviet Union carried out the bulk of its nuclear testing, and birth defects were common.

Scroll through for a look at some of Kuyukov's paintings. For more, visit the Atom Project:

Armless Artist's UK Visa Woes Over Fingerprints Get More Kafkaesque
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