Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside
Read all about Teresa’s Pretty Amazing book launch which took place at Gallery Gachet on June 29, 2016.
BOOK DESCRIPTION – Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside
What does Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside look like through the eyes of an artist—an artist who also happens to have Down syndrome? Teresa Heartchild’s colourful art and poetry let’s us see, hear and feel it from her unique viewpoint.
The heart of Pretty Amazing is the unexpected story of Teresa finding herself as an artist and poet. Previously, Teresa’s artistic expression was discouraged and ridiculed.
Her opening poem, I Am Alive, packs added punch when you know that her future was written off a few years ago when she lived in Ontario. In 2013, Teresa was forced into an Ontario nursing home against her will. The Ontario health-care system had wrapped her in—as disability advocate Paul Young aptly describes it —“a cocoon of impossibility”. Against her wishes, Teresa’s liberty and freedom was traded for a single bed in an end-of-life nursing home. It was a violation of her human rights. She did not want to be there. Teresa had things to do, places to go, and people to meet!
In the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Teresa has found her voice. It is a voice that talks about feeling “butterflies”, but still finds the courage to fly. Teresa has, in her own words, been “reborn in Gastown.”
We’ll have copies of Teresa’s Pretty Amazing book for purchase. (The book will also be available on Amazon, in print and ebook formats.)
Plus… Eighteen 4’ x 5’ original artworks by Teresa will be on display. Admission is free. The artist’s favourite refreshments, cranberry juice and raspberry bars, will be served!
Who made this Pretty Amazing event possible?
Teresa won a DTES Small Arts grant to create the illustrated book. The Vancouver Foundation created the Downtown Eastside Small Arts Grants Program, in partnership with the Carnegie Community Centre, to help DTES artists advance their careers by supporting and showcasing their work.