Lev never and in no circumstance allowed anyone mention the fact he was disabled. One day he shut the door upon a reporter who started the interview with ‘So you are the artist without an arm?’

The only exception was made when he talked with officials whom he tried to persuade to do something for the disabled. Lev taught himself how to manage in everyday life without having to ask someone for help – to an extent that even his family didn’t notice any signs of deficiency. He could do everything: build a wooden stand for a big-size sculpture, make a wire frame to work with clay, mould a model in plaster, move a fridge using levers. Lev wanted that the devices he invented to facilitate housework could help one-armed people. He approached various governmental offices with this idea but drew no reply.

On next pages we publish drafts of his drawings and explanations made with an aim to show how one can, without the assistance of the second arm, use simple devices to peel potatoes, sharpen a knife, run a thread through a needle, etc.

At Lev’s initiative, his friend recorded a video where Lev demonstrates these devices. At the end he says,

“The main thing is to have a wish and a will. Then everything will be all right and you will be able to achieve anything you want!”

Tips for one-armed persons. Duration 25 mins. Filmed in 1997.

Pictures and explanation

From the interview Lev Razumovsky gave to the BBC television in April 2001

When after the war Higher Art School opened in Leningrad, I went there, and at the Admissions they asked me, ‘What department?’ I said, ‘Sculpture.’ “No,’ they said. ‘What are you talking about? It’s not possible. Don’t go there. You have a great variety of choices: painting, graphics, woodcraft, metalwork. Sculpture is not for you.’ They thought I wouldn’t be able to do it with one arm. But I said, ‘Only sculpture. I don’t want anything but sculpture. Try me, give me a chance.’ And at the entrance exam I did everything that was required, not worse than other entrants. And I was admitted to the school.

Why did I fight for it? Well, first of all, I sincerely wanted to be a sculptor. Second, I loved it. And third, I had a secret most important task. I didn’t tell anyone about it but it was the leitmotiv of my life. I wanted to prove to other people, and above all to myself, that I was not a disabled person. I wanted to prove that I could do any job in art, the most difficult jobs, physically, in all arts. And, little by little, eventually I did.