Artist with intellectual disability uses art and poetry to fight for human rights and social inclusion
VANCOUVER, Aug. 1, 2018 /CNW/ – “I am a self-advocate. And I speak up!” Artist Teresa Pocock uses her art and poetry to express her unique worldview — and to fight for her human rights. As a person with Down syndrome, Ms. Pocock has faced lifelong discrimination and exclusion.
Almost five years ago, at age 49, she was stripped of her rights to self-determination. Against her wishes, Ms. Pocock’s liberty and freedom was traded for a single bed in an Ontario nursing home. She did not want to be there. She had things to do, places to go, and people to meet.
Fortunately, with the help of her father and a sister, Ms. Pocock won her freedom. She moved to British Columbia with her sister, Franke James. Together they launched a campaign for her human rights. Ms. Pocock’s change.org petition garnered over 26,000 signatures. BC Civil Liberties wrote to the Ontario government expressing concern “that the Ministry has violated Ms. Pocock’s rights, which are protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Ontario law.” This led to her winning an apology from Ontario. Ms. Pocock’s hand-written letter to the Minister requesting the apology is in her exhibition.
Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me includes fourteen large (47″ x 60″) artworks showcasing her self-advocacy. Ms. Pocock’s artwork also reveals her fears and her joys. She delights in the freedom to choose where she lives, what she does, and what she eats, “I love the flavour of everything.”
At the exhibition, Ms. Pocock will be launching her new book, Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me. The book and exhibition are produced with support from a DTES Small Arts Grant from the Vancouver Foundation.
About the Artist
Teresa Pocock is an outsider artist, poet, musician and self-advocate with Down syndrome. She is the author of two books:
“Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me” launched August 2, 2018.
“Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” (2016)
SOURCE The James Gang Iconoclasts Inc.