Outsider Artist uses magic markers to highlight her human rights and need for social inclusion
Vancouver – “I am a self-advocate. And I speak up!” Artist Teresa Heartchild 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 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 end-of-life 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 across the country to British Columbia to live in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside 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 a letter expressing concern that the Ministry had 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 the Ontario Minister of Health. Ms Pocock’s hand-written letter to the Ontario government requesting the apology, is featured in her new book, Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me.
Ms Pocock’s vibrant artwork and poetry demonstrates her self-advocacy and reveals her inner fears and joys. She delights in her newfound freedom to choose where she lives, what she does, and even what she eats, “I love the flavour of everything.”
At the Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival, Ms Pocock will be exhibiting her artworks and selling her new book, Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me. The book and artwork were produced with support from a DTES Small Arts Grant from the Vancouver Foundation.
Dates and Locations
Friday August 10 (11am to 9pm)
Saturday August 11 (10am to 4pm)
Sunday, August 12 (10am to 4pm)
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3
Teresa Heartchild is an outsider artist, poet, musician and self-advocate with Down syndrome. Her recent solo exhibition at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver included 14 large artworks, poetry and video. She is the author of two books: “Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me” (2018) and “Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” (2016). Ms. Pocock lives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival (VOAF) offers visual and performing artists facing social exclusion and other barriers opportunities for exhibition and sales, performance and participation, connection and learning. VOAF is organized and presented by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. The 3-day free festival takes place at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre from August 10-12, 2018, and includes individual artists as well as organizational partners, workshops for artists and the public, and hundreds of artworks on display and for sale, alongside live art and other performance forms.
Media contact: Franke James
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