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

Vancouver, July 18, 2019 – Artist Teresa Pocock 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 over twenty-five 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.”

Free Tickets: “Born to Represent” Art Exhibition by Teresa Pocock presented by PLAN

Teresa Pocock installing her artwork, poetrym and videos at 312 Main Street, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

“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.”

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