Born to Represent

“I was born to represent diversity,” says artist Teresa Heartchild

Vancouver, July 18, 2019 – Artist Teresa Heartchild uses words, pictures, and music to express her unique worldview and to assert her rights to inclusion. She challenges the systemic discrimination faced by people who are different — especially those who have intellectual disabilities.

Pocock’s new art exhibition, “Born to Represent”, is opening on Monday, July 22, 2019. The show is being presented by Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) at 312 Main Street, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The exhibition features her music videos, self-talk poetry, and twenty of her large-scale artworks. 

“As an active, contributing citizen in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, Teresa’s art taps into the often unspoken thoughts and pleasures of modern life,” says Rebecca Pauls, Director of PLAN. “For anyone looking for a bit of everyday joy, self-expression, and connection, this exhibit is not to be missed.”

“I was born with what was seen to be a disability,” raps Pocock. “But no, no, no. It’s just me… living in reality.” Ms. Pocock has Down syndrome and is obviously proud of her identity.

Nevertheless, Pocock has experienced discrimination and adversity because of her genetic and intellectual differences.

In 2013, as a result of a crisis, she was wrongly declared “incapable” and was forced into an Ontario long-term care institution. Fortunately, with help, Pocock stood up for her human rights and won back her freedom. She moved to B.C. and has blossomed in the gritty Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. 

For Pocock, art and self-advocacy are powerfully intertwined. Her art and social media campaign earned an apology from the Ontario government for the inappropriate treatment she received. “I love my human rights”, she says. “Don’t take them away just because I have Down syndrome.” 

“Teresa, her sister Franke James and brother-in-law Billiam James demonstrate the power of relationships and family leadership in everything that they do.” says Pauls, “Without the loving, natural care and advocacy of family, friends and supportive organizations, Teresa’s life would not be what it is today.” 

Six years after the life-changing crisis, Pocock has established herself as a vital creative force. She is confident in her voice and abilities. “You have to realize, I am a self-advocate. You have to realize, I speak up.” And she has found her purpose and meaning, “I was born to represent diversity.”


Dates and Locations
312 Main St., Vancouver, BC V6A 2T2
Use the accessible Cordova St. entrance

Tickets: FREE
Get a Free Ticket on Eventbrite


Teresa Heartchild 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” (2018). “Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” (2016). Please visit her website for more information.


Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is dedicated to building inclusive communities for all citizens. We are a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to help families secure the future for loved ones with disabilities. Working in collaboration, we build personal support networks, make plans to secure the future, and bring families together for mutual support, learning and community leadership. Visit to read stories on how we help people with disabilities make lifelong connections and lead fulfilling lives.


The James Gang, Iconoclasts, Inc. is a creative agency founded by Franke James and Billiam James. They work with corporations, non-profit organizations, and government services, to create positive social change with a focus on environmental, health care, and social justice issues.

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