On Human Rights Day, December 9, 2019, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner celebrated BC’s champions for change, by producing and releasing Teresa’s video, “Champions for Change.”

Each year, on Human Rights Day, people around the world mark the anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the first time in our history that nations came together to document the inalienable rights of all people. 2019 marks the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration. In B.C., 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the B.C. Human Rights Code— the law protecting people in B.C. from discrimination.

Teresa Pocock, Champion for Change!

Kasari Govender, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, made the following statement with the release of Teresa’s video, “I love my Human Rights!”

As I mark my first Human Rights Day as B.C.’s new Human Rights Commissioner my Office is celebrating these champions for change. People like Teresa Pocock, a woman with Down syndrome, who fought to live outside of an institution and to make her own choice about where she lives. We are excited to launch a video project today where Teresa shares her human rights story.

For generations, British Columbians living with disabilities have been their own champions for change, fighting for more accessible infrastructure and inclusive communities. In 1996, B.C. became the first province in Canada to close all its large institutions for people with intellectual disabilities and the first jurisdiction in the world to safeguard the decision-making rights of people with developmental disabilities.

Yet, for all their success, people living with disabilities continue to face discrimination and systemic barriers to the full realization of their human rights.  Complaints about discrimination on the basis of disability continue to form the largest single source of cases before the BC Human Right Tribunal. Across Canada, people with disabilities are up to 3x as likely to be living in poverty compared with the rest of the population. For those with severe disability, close to 30% live in poverty. The situation is even worse for women, single individuals, and single parents with disabilities.

Inequality is no stranger to most of us. Yet whoever we are— wherever we come from, whatever we make, wherever we live, whomever we love— our rights to equality and justice are the same. BC has long had a means to address individual incidents of discrimination, but has lacked a body charged with education, research, and inquiries into systemic human rights problems. My mandate is to dig out the roots of discrimination and inequality – the forces giving rise to the individual complaints – by being proactive and prevention-oriented.

Inspired by B.C.’s champions for change, I commit my Office to work alongside those advocating for justice to dismantle the structures of systemic discrimination in our province, and to build a vibrant culture of human rights in their place.

Thank you Kasari Govender!

April 2, 2020 by Franke James, Teresa’s sister

Teresa Pocock got some fabulous news today, April 2, 2020… Canada Council approved her Arts Abroad Travel Grant for her past trip to Mexico. In November 2019 Teresa flew to Mérida to see her art exhibited in the Deep Down Arts show. Whoah! She’s lucky to have gone because she sure won’t be returning any time soon! (Teresa is following Vancouver’s Stay Home / Stay Put guidelines with me and my husband.) The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe makes us appreciate how very fortunate Teresa was to have seized the unique opportunity to travel to the opening ceremony.

The Deep Down Arts Exhibition was organized by the Macay Foundation. Teresa says, “Gracias!” to the Canada Council and Spectrum Society‘s McGill Ability Fund, for the grants to travel to the opening event in Mérida, Mexico on November 8, 2019.

Teresa was thrilled with the celebrity welcome at the Mérida airport on Nov 7, 2019!

Teresa said, “I match!” Indeed her colorful style fit in so well in Mexico!

Happening at the same time as the Deep Down Arts show there was also a global gathering of educators to discuss improving inclusion in society.

Teresa posed for pictures with delegates and speakers from the Advisory Council of the Institute for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities of the State of Yucatán (IIPEDEY).

Teresa went on-stage to say hello to the crowd!

Teresa spontaneously went on-stage and introduced herself as an artist and author from Canada. “It is a beautiful design. I am a professional artist and I am on Amazon!”

The red ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of Deep Down Arts at the museum on November 8, 2019.

The dignitaries spoke about the global art exhibition and the importance of inclusion in Mexico.

Teresa gave the Director of the exhibition, Dr. Manuel Guerrero, a signed copy of her Totally Amazing book. Dr. Guerrero exclaimed, “You are totally amazing!”

The artist Teresa Pocock with me and Dr. Manuel Guerrero at the Deep Down Arts Exhibition. [Photo by Billiam James]

Teresa was delighted to meet with schoolchildren who were touring the Deep Down Arts show

An art teacher from Mérida said, “We need to teach the kids to have another type of mentality. Right here in Mexico, we don’t have this kind of art. We don’t have the diversity. We just get accustomed to the “normal” kind of art.”

Art and poem by Teresa Pocock


WIND WARNING

I’m afraid to go outside.
There’s a wind warning.
I’m afraid to get soaking wet.
I know what you mean.
I’m too chicken and the chickens are very tired.
The wind warning is in the background falling.
Don’t frighten me.
Blowing winds and showers.
Oh I see.
Now you’re afraid.
I’m afraid of…
It’s okay, don’t be scared of the showers.
You can take an umbrella.
Now that’s a brilliant idea. My coat is red.
My umbrella is red.
It’s okay to go outside. Don’t worry.
I do like to sit outside.
We see a big rainbow after the shower.
And the fireworks are beautiful. That’s it.


Teresa poses for a snapshot in front of the colorful Mérida signage

Teresa walked fearlessly amidst the throngs of pigeons. (You’ll hear me as the camera-person reacting to the birds too!)

Teresa made friends with inclusion advocates from around the world

It was a lot of fun! And truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will all treasure!

Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and Spectrum Society for Community Living‘s McGill Ability Fund for supporting Teresa’s Trip to Mérida, Mexico. Gracias!!

By Franke James, (Teresa’s sister and cheerleader!)

Teresa Pocock’s art exhibition, “Born to Represent”, opened on Monday, July 22, 2019. The one-week show was presented by Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) at 312 Main Street, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The exhibition featured Teresa’s music videos, self-talk poetry, and numerous large-scale artworks. 

The date, July 22, 2019, was also significant because it was Teresa’s 55th birthday and represented a major milestone in her life. It was Teresa’s third solo show since 2016, and the biggest one yet!

Teresa 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.

Behind the Scenes: The Advance Show Preparation

On the left, artist Teresa Pocock holds up her "Heart Child" poem which is printed as a large 4' x 5' poster on styrene. On the right, Teresa points and laughs at her poem "Eyes of the Tiger". Both images were taken on July 21, 2019 at the hanging of Teresa's art show. Photos by Franke James.
Teresa Pocock holds up her “Heart Child” poem which is printed as a large 4′ x 5′ poster. On the right, Teresa points and laughs at her poem “Eyes of the Tiger”.

Organizing Teresa’s art show was a team effort which included the artist and many people pitching in to help. PLAN’s Director, Rebecca Pauls helped Teresa, myself and my husband Billiam James hang the show. Teresa told us which pieces she wanted in the show and also specified in which order they were to be hung. 

Teresa watches as Billiam James applies graphic lettering to the gallery wall at 312 Main on July 21, 2019. Photo by Franke James.
Teresa watches as Billiam James applies graphic lettering to the gallery wall at 312 Main St

Teresa watched with interest as my husband applied the ‘Born to Represent’ show signage to the gallery wall.

The gallery at 312 Main is a large space with screens at each end, which proved ideal to showcase Teresa’s videos from 2014 to 2018. In the video above Teresa is dancing to her “I am Alive” video from 2016.

Teresa Pocock wears headphones and leans toward the microphone in a radio interview with Cathy Browne for CO-OP Radio on July 24, 2019. Photo by Franke James.
Teresa Pocock wears headphones and leans toward the microphone in a radio interview with Cathy Browne for CO-OP Radio

The BC Alliance for Arts and Culture distributed a media release about Teresa’s show which helped spread the news. Teresa participated in two radio interviews and was remarkably comfortable and outgoing on-air. She invited people to come out to see her art — and in one live interview even gave out my mobile phone number. (Yikes!)

Teresa stands and looks intently at her artwork hung on the long gallery wall at 312 Main St. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios. July 22, 2019.
Teresa stands and looks intently at her artwork hung on the long gallery wall at 312 Main St.

Teresa put on her favorite tie-dye shirt for the opening. She said it was “tremendous” to see her art on the walls. (This photo, and all of the following event photos from July 22, 2019, are by This Is It Studios. Thank you, Isabella Sarmiento!)

On July 22, 2019, Teresa raises her hands and dances, mimicking the screen image of herself in a Change.org video from 2014. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios.
On July 22, 2019, Teresa raises her hands and dances, mimicking the screen image of herself in a Change.org video from 2014.

“I was born with what was seen to be a disability,” raps Teresa. “But no, no, no. It’s just me, me, me… living in reality.” Teresa has Down syndrome and is proud of her identity. Nevertheless, the discrimination and adversity she has experienced as a result of her genetic condition have inspired her to find her voice as an artist, author, and self-advocate.

Artist Teresa Pocock and Rebecca Pauls, Director of PLAN stand in front of Teresa's artwork at 312 Main Street, Vancouver. July 22, 2019. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios.
Artist Teresa Pocock and Rebecca Pauls, Director of PLAN stand in front of Teresa’s artwork at 312 Main St, Vancouver. July 22, 2019.

“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.”

A visitor pauses to read Teresa's poem 'Heart Child' at the opening event on July 22, 2019. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios.
A visitor pauses to read Teresa’s poem ‘Heart Child’ at the opening event on July 22, 2019.
Groups of people are engaged in conversation at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019. Teresa's large colorful artwork hangs along one wall. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios.
Groups of people are engaged in conversation at the opening of Teresa Pocock’s Born To Represent exhibition on July 22, 2019.

Teresa’s art show drew about 75 guests. It was a diverse mix of people from the disability sector, environmental groups, health, education, arts, music, as well as politicians and staff from the municipal, provincial and federal governments, who came out to support Teresa. 

Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan stands beside artist Teresa Pocock at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019. Photo by Isabella Sarmiento, This Is It Studios.
Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan stands beside artist Teresa Pocock at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019.

Teresa was honoured to have her Member of Parliament, Jenny Kwan come to her art show.

Teresa Pocock shows Jenny Kwan the text 'my human body' in her poem, 'Eyes of the Tiger' on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa shows Jenny Kwan the text ‘my human body’ in her poem, ‘Eyes of the Tiger’

Teresa showed her poem Eyes of the Tiger to Jenny Kwan.

Teresa Pocock discusses her poem, 'Eyes of the Tiger' with Jenny Kwan on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa discusses her poem, ‘Eyes of the Tiger’ with Jenny Kwan
A visitor stands in front of Teresa's colourful artwork and self-talk poetry at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
A visitor stands in front of Teresa’s colourful artwork and self-talk poetry at the opening of Born To Represent

Visitors commented on the exuberance of Teresa’s art. Some guests remarked that Teresa’s poem ‘More Mayonnaise’ spoke directly to them.

Teresa Pocock's poem and drawing "More Mayonnaise" is featured in her 2018 book, "Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me"
Teresa Pocock’s poem and drawing “More Mayonnaise” is featured in her 2018 book, “Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me”
Two visitors stand in front of Teresa's 'Those Monsters' artwork at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Two visitors stand in front of Teresa’s ‘Those Monsters’ artwork at the opening event

Visitors remarked on the courage and resiliency which Teresa demonstrates through her art and poetry.

A selection of Teresa’s videos was screened at the opening. In this image viewers are watching “Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled”. Photo: This Is It Studios.
A selection of Teresa’s videos was screened at the opening. In this image viewers are watching “Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled”.

Vistors watched Teresa’s “Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled” video. The video was part of her Change.org campaign in 2014. Teresa’s art and social media campaign earned an apology from the Ontario government. “I love my human rights”, Teresa said. “Don’t take them away just because I have Down syndrome.”

A visitor poses for a photo in front of Teresa's 'Heart Child' artwork at the opening of Born to Represent. Photo: This Is It Studios.
A visitor poses for a photo in front of Teresa’s ‘Heart Child’ artwork at the opening event

Visitors pose for pictures in front of Teresa’s artwork.

Two international visitors hold copies of Teresa's 'Amazing' books as they pose for a photo. Teresa's 'Wind Warning' artwork hangs in the background. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Two international visitors hold copies of Teresa’s ‘Amazing’ books as they pose for a photo. Teresa’s ‘Wind Warning’ artwork hangs in the background.

Visitors posed with copies of Teresa’s books in front of Teresa’s artwork.

Teresa Pocock with her sister Franke James on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa Pocock with her sister Franke James.

I posed with Teresa in front of her artwork. (I had wondered whether my dress was too colorful, but the two of us just complimented Teresa’s art!)

A visitor takes a Smartphone photo of Teresa's 'Heart Child' artwork at the opening of Born to Represent. Photo: This Is It Studios.
A visitor takes a Smartphone photo of Teresa’s ‘Heart Child’ artwork at the opening event.

Visitors captured Teresa’s artwork on their smartphones.

Teresa Pocock's poem and drawing "Heart Child" (2018) is featured in her 2018 book, "Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me".
Teresa Pocock’s poem and drawing “Heart Child” (2018) is featured in her 2018 book, “Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me”.

Six visitors stand in front of Teresa's 'Wind Warning' artwork at the opening of Born To Represent on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Six visitors stand in front of Teresa’s ‘Wind Warning’ artwork at the opening event.

Teresa’s art show was a magnet for inclusion. It brought together people from many different social sectors and all levels of government.

Teresa holds a rose plant given to her by Laurel, an inclusion support teacher in BC. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa holds a rose plant given to her by Laurel, an inclusion support teacher in BC.

Teresa was delighted to receive roses from Laurel, an inclusion support teacher in BC — and one of Teresa’s “fans”.

Teresa looks up as she holds the rose plant gift she has just received. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa looks up as she holds the rose plant gift she has just received.
Teresa's friend Rosh congratulates her on her art show. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa’s friend Rosh congratulates her on her art show.

Teresa was congratulated by Rosh, a friend, and fellow self-advocate, artist and author.

Teresa smiles as she holds a bouquet of pink Gerbera daisies. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa smiles as she holds a bouquet of pink Gerbera daisies.

Teresa was thrilled to receive a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her art opening.

Teresa smiles and shakes hands. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa smiles and shakes hands.

Everyone wanted to shake Teresa’s hand.

Aaron Johannes from "Imagine a Circle" shakes Teresa's hand. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Aaron Johannes from “Imagine a Circle” shakes Teresa’s hand.

Disability consultant and researcher Aaron Johannes from “Imagine a Circle” congratulated Teresa on her show.

Teresa smiles as a friend from the disability support community shakes her hand. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa smiles as a friend from the disability support community shakes her hand.

Friends from the disability support community shook Teresa’s hand and congratulated her on her art show.

A visitor congratulates Teresa as he shakes her hand. Photo: This Is It Studios.
A visitor congratulates Teresa as he shakes her hand.

Everyone wanted to shake Teresa’s hand. She was so pleased!

Friends congratulate Teresa and shake her hand. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Friends congratulate Teresa and shake her hand.

More friends congratulated Teresa on her show.

Franke James shakes her sister Teresa's hand and congratulates her on her successful show. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Franke James shakes her sister Teresa’s hand and congratulates her on her successful show.

Even I got to shake Teresa’s hand to officially congratulate her on her milestone achievement!

Franke James hugs her sister Teresa on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Franke James hugs her sister Teresa on July 22, 2019.

And I gave the Artist a big hug, too!

DTES artist Edzy shakes Teresa's hand as she sits by her book table on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
DTES artist Edzy shakes Teresa’s hand as she sits by her book table on July 22, 2019.

DTES artist Edzy came out to support Teresa and her art show.

Teresa enjoys looking at her 'Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me' on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa enjoys looking at her ‘Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me’ on July 22, 2019.
Friends Liz and Teresa pose for a photo while holding up Teresa's Born To Represent cards. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Friends Liz and Teresa pose for a photo while holding up Teresa’s Born To Represent cards.
Friends Rosh and Teresa make notes on Teresa's Born To Represent cards. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Friends Rosh and Teresa make notes on Teresa’s Born To Represent cards.

Artists Rosh and Teresa were in deep conversation.

Teresa signs copies of her books for buyers. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa signs copies of her books for buyers.
People line up to have Teresa sign copies of her books. A Spectrum Society support worker leans forward towards Teresa. Photo: This Is It Studios.
People line up to have Teresa sign copies of her books. A Spectrum Society support worker leans forward towards Teresa.

People lined up to have Teresa sign copies of her “Totally Amazing” and “Pretty Amazing” books.

Teresa Pocock's books - Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me (2018), and Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside (2016) | Display Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa Pocock’s books – Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me (2018), and Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside (2016)
Photo of Teresa Pocock's Born to Represent opening at 312 Main Street | This Is It Studios.
Photo of Teresa Pocock’s Born to Represent opening at 312 Main Street
There is laughter and smiles as Teresa leads a group of friends in doing her signature chicken dance. Photo: This Is It Studios.
There is laughter and smiles as Teresa leads a group of friends in doing her signature chicken dance.

Teresa inspired everyone to get up and do the chicken dance.

Billiam James laughs and smiles as he does the chicken dance. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Billiam James laughs and smiles as he does the chicken dance.

Billiam James joined in the fun chicken dance.

Friends Laurel, Bob, and Rosh pose for a picture in front of Teresa's artwork. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Friends Laurel, Bob, and Rosh pose for a picture in front of Teresa’s artwork

Friends Laurel, Bob, and Rosh smiled in front of Teresa’s artwork.

Friends Liz, Barb, and Franke -- all wearing colourful patterned dresses laugh as they pose for a picture in front of Teresa's colourful patterned artwork. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Friends Liz, Barb, and Franke — all wearing colourful patterned dresses laugh as they pose for a picture in front of Teresa’s colourful patterned artwork.

Liz, Barb, and Franke remarked that their patterned dresses match Teresa’s colourful patterned artwork very well.

Billiam James, Teresa Pocock, and Franke James are joyful as they celebrate Teresa's success on July 22, 2019. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Billiam James, Teresa Pocock, and Franke James are joyful as they celebrate Teresa’s success on July 22, 2019.

“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 Rebecca Pauls, “Without the loving, natural care and advocacy of family, friends and supportive organizations, Teresa’s life would not be what it is today.”

PLAN's Rebecca Pauls poses for a picture with consultant and researcher Aaron Johannes on July 22, 2019.  Photo: This Is It Studios.
PLAN’s Rebecca Pauls poses for a picture with consultant and researcher Aaron Johannes on July 22, 2019.

The host, Rebecca Pauls, Director of PLAN posed for a picture with educator & researcher Aaron Johannes, Imagine a Circle.

Group photo of Teresa Pocock with friends from Spectrum Society, PLAN, Rebecca Pauls, Franke James and Billiam James. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Group photo of Teresa Pocock with friends from Spectrum Society, PLAN, Rebecca Pauls, Franke James and Billiam James.
Group photo of Teresa Pocock with friends from Gallery Gachet, Franke James and Billiam James. Photo: This Is It Studios.
Teresa Pocock with friends from Gallery Gachet, Franke James and Billiam James.

Exterior view of Teresa Pocock's Born to Represent opening at 312 Main Street on July 22, 2019 | Photo: This Is It Studios.
Exterior view of Teresa Pocock’s Born to Represent opening at 312 Main St on July 22, 2019
Teresa blows out a candle on her birthday cake at the Flying Pig restaurant in Gastown. Photo: Franke James
Teresa blows out candles on her birthday cake at the Flying Pig restaurant in Gastown. Photo: Franke James

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Teresa thanks everyone for coming to her ‘Born To Represent’ show! Special thanks to PLAN, Spectrum Society, Community Living BC, and the Vancouver Foundation.

“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 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.”

DETAILS

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

Tickets: FREE
Get a Free Ticket on Eventbrite
https://borntorepresent.eventbrite.ca

BIOGRAPHIES

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” (2018). “Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” (2016). Please visit her website for more information. https://www.teresapocock.com

ABOUT PLAN

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 PLAN.ca to read stories on how we help people with disabilities make lifelong connections and lead fulfilling lives.

ABOUT THE JAMES GANG

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.


Self-advocate Teresa Pocock’s new music video, “Born to Represent”, will be showcased on December 3, 2018 at the evening Film Festival/Performance of PEBCelebrates Live: The premier event in Vancouver to recognize and celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

BORN TO REPRESENT [music video]:
Teresa Pocock is an artist, author, and self-advocate with Down syndrome who has triumphed over adversity and discrimination. In “Born to Represent”, Teresa proudly says, “I was born with what was seen to be a disability. But no, no, no. It’s just, me, me, me. Living in reality.” In 2013, a family crisis resulted in her being forced into a long-term care institution in Toronto. Fortunately, with help, Teresa stood up for her human rights and won back her freedom. Five years later, she’s happily living in Vancouver and singing, “I was born, born to represent diversity!”

In addition to debuting her short film, Teresa will be exhibiting her art and signing copies of her books, “Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me” (2018) and “Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” (2016).

Join us at Project EveryBODY’s PEBCelebrates Live! on December 3, 2018 as we observe and celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

  • 12:30PM – 7:30PM – Art Show and Sale, Musical Performances and Adapted Recreation Demos
  • 6:30PM – 8:30PM – Film Festival & Performance Artists (Register on Eventbrite.)

PEBCelebrates Live! is proud to feature an Art Show and Sale during the day on December 3rd, while the evening program will include short films, dance, and other exciting live presentations. This event is family friendly and free to the public, and you will meet local and international artists whose creative gifts and personal stories will inspire you. Whether it is done through; music, art, performance, comedy or something else, there is something for EveryBODY at PEBCelebrates Live!

Presented by a collaboration of community and non-profit organizations who embrace diversity and inclusion, it is a celebration that showcases the talents of people of all abilities and honours the achievements of people with diverse abilities and advocates for thriving communities that are both diverse and inclusive.

Accessibility Features: The venue is fully wheelchair and walker accessible, and Vocal EYE and ASL interpreters are available on site.

Website: projecteverybody.ca

by Beverly Cramp, Galleries West Magazine
Republished with permission of the author

Gallery Gachet, which supports marginalized artists in Vancouver, helps Teresa Pocock, an artist with Down syndrome, launch her second book.

Teresa Pocock celebrates her exhibition and book launch at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver. (Photo by Billiam James)

Artist-run centre Gallery Gachet was filled recently with bright drawings and celebratory poems by Teresa Pocock, a stark contrast to the grubby and littered streets outside in Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood, where many of the city’s homeless and drug-addicted citizens live.

Pocock likes primary colours and often incorporates text so exuberant it makes visitors smile. “I like the flavour of everything,” begins one of her poems. “Chocolate cake. Coke Zero. I love cranberry sauce and cranberry juice, and chicken pie.”

The four-day show [August 2-5, 2018], Pocock’s second at a space known for its work to encourage healing and empower marginalized artists, was set up to launch her second book, Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me. It’s an inspiring account of how she has fought to let her creativity blossom.

Pocock was born with Down syndrome. Her mother supported her in numerous ways, arranging for regular exercise and enrolling her in a private school that she attended for 12 years. Pocock, who lived with her parents in Ontario, flourished in this nourishing environment.

But after her mother died in 1999, her father took care of Pocock. But eventually, in 2013, when Pocock was 49, she was declared “incapable” of making her own decisions and placed briefly in a long-term care facility that houses elderly people.

“The nurses at the home told me Teresa cried every day and did almost nothing,” says her sister, Franke James, also an artist.

Teresa’s father, a retired lawyer, was in poor health, but managed to get her out of the care facility and took her to live with James. Within a year, James and her husband had moved to Vancouver with Pocock, hoping to build a better life.

Teresa Pocock poses with her sister, Franke James. (Photo by Billiam James)
Teresa Pocock poses with her sister, Franke James. (Photo by Billiam James)

As James writes in the introduction to Totally Amazing, British Columbia is better for Teresa “because it recognizes her legal right to make her own decisions.”

In Vancouver, Pocock began a regular practice of writing and making art. In addition to calling herself an artist and author, Pocock is a self-advocate. She’s not shy to speak up for herself and in 2016, she asked the Ontario government for an apology.

It was made in a statement to Global TV by Eric Hoskins, then the province’s health minister, but not directly to Pocock. So she sent a handwritten letter to the minister, asking him to write to her personally. Later that year, she received his written apology.

Teresa Pocock stands in front of the hand-written letter she sent to the Ontario government. (Photo by Billiam James)
Teresa Pocock stands in front of the hand-written letter she sent to the Ontario government. (Photo by Billiam James)

Pocock continues to draw and write every day at the dining room table. Once, when she was asked her to clear away her art supplies to make room for dinner, she joked: “But I’ll lose my job.”

Pocock is a participating artist at the Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival, a free event that runs Aug. 10 to Aug. 12 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. The festival, organized by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, features art and performances by those who identify as outsiders for a host of reasons, including mental health issues and differences in physical abilities.

To see more of Pocock’s work, visit totallyamazing.ca. ■

Visitors check out Teresa Pocock’s art and writing at Gallery Gachet. (Photo by Melissa Newbery)
Visitors check out Teresa Pocock’s art and writing at Gallery Gachet. (Photo by Melissa Newbery)

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 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 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.

DETAILS

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

Tickets
Free

BIOGRAPHIES

Teresa Pocock 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
Email: franke.james@gmail.com

Web: http://totallyamazing.ca
http://www.cacv.ca/programs/vancouver-outsider-arts-festival/
Twitter: @TeresaPocock

BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON:


Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me

Totally Amazing

Buy the book on Amazon: Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me

Totally Amazing: ‘Free To Be Me’

Teresa Pocock’s unique worldview is expressed through her art. The way she sees the world, the people she meets, and her feelings about life are all told through her art, poetry and music.

Teresa’s exhibition at Gallery Gachet showcases her art, poetry and examples of her self-advocacy as a person with Down syndrome. From writing to government officials for an apology on her wrongful placement in an Ontario nursing home in 2013 – to asserting her rights to more of what she loves in life, like more mayonnaise and the freedom to be herself in Vancouver, B.C. (Teresa’s Totally Amazing book will be available for purchase and also available on Amazon.)

Book Launch & Art Show: “Totally Amazing: ‘Free To Be Me’” by Teresa Pocock

Date/Time: August 2nd from 6pm to 8pm

Location: Gallery Gachet, 9 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC

Who made this Totally Amazing event possible?

Teresa is honoured to have won her second DTES Small Arts grant to create the illustrated book, “Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me”. The DTES Small Arts Grants Program was created by The Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with the Carnegie Community Centre, to help Downtown Eastside artists advance their careers by supporting and showcasing their work.

Totally Amazing Preview:

ABOUT TERESA POCOCK

Teresa Pocock is an outsider artist, poet, musician and self-advocate with Down syndrome. Teresa’s unique worldview is expressed through her art. The way she sees the world, the people she meets, and her feelings about life are all documented through her art, poetry and music.

Teresa has created and published two illustrated books with support from the Vancouver Foundation. Her first book, “Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside” was published in 2016. “Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me”, her second book, was published in August 2018, and will be launched at her solo art exhibition at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

In 2016, Teresa won her first DTES Small Arts Grant from the Vancouver Foundation which enabled her to produce her “Pretty Amazing” book and art show. Cheryl Chan at The Vancouver Sun wrote about Teresa, Artist with Down syndrome written off as ‘incapable’ blooms in the Downtown Eastside. Chan’s story captured the head-scratching incongruity of Teresa’s situation. How could someone who was ‘incapable’, ‘bloom’ as an artist in Vancouver? Of course, the truth is that Teresa was never incapable (and she is gifted). However what happened to Teresa is common in our “Ableist” society which discriminates against people with disabilities in the name of “care”. Teresa’s petition on Change.org “Human rights should never be disabled” was launched on March 21, 2014. In September 2016, Teresa wrote to the Ontario Minister of Health, Dr Eric Hoskins, asking for a letter of apology. “I did not want to live in a nursing home. I am capable.” In November 2016, Minister Hoskins responded, “Dear Ms. Pocock, Thank you for writing to me… I would like to apologize to you”. Teresa was delighted to receive the apology and closed her petition with over 26,000  signatures!

Teresa’s future is bright and her art career is blossoming. She hopes to show her work across Canada and the United States in the years ahead.

Teresa’s new book, “Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me” will be available for purchase at Gallery Gachet (and at Amazon).

BOOK LAUNCH & ART EVENT IN VANCOUVER, B.C. – 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, August 2nd to celebrate the launch of Teresa Pocock’s second art and poetry book:

Buy the book on Amazon: Totally Amazing: Free To Be Me

“Musical Eggs” is a musical EGGS-perience composed and performed by Teresa Pocock. Played on a “Push 2” keyboard (and two dozen eggs).

Screened at SFU Woodward’s Emerge Festival Showcase for DTES Small Arts Grant Winners. Thank you to the Vancouver Foundation for their support.

Photos from Emerge Festival:

Some Tweets:

Teresa Pocock: Butterflies in My Stomach

Please vote for Teresa’s video on Storyhive.com

Butterflies in My Stomach: The true story of a woman with Down syndrome who overcomes discrimination, and her own fears, to blossom into an artist.

“Butterflies in My Stomach” is Teresa Pocock’s StoryHive project. It’s a pitch to produce a 10 minute video which tells Teresa’s story about overcoming discrimination, disablity — and her own fears — to blossom as an artist in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Voting starts on April 3, 2018 and ends on April 6th. You can vote every day, so please do! Every vote counts. And you will be helping Teresa win support from StoryHive so that she can tell her story.

Here is Teresa’s 60-second StoryHive pitch:

Butterflies in My Stomach: Synopsis
This is the true story of Teresa Pocock, a woman with Down syndrome who has overcome discrimination and her own fears, to blossom into an award-winning artist and author. Four years ago, at age 49, Teresa was written off as “incapable” and was forced into a old-age nursing home in Ontario. Teresa did not want to live there. Her father and a sister rescued her, and Teresa moved across the country to B.C. to start a new life. “Butterflies in My Stomach” will tell her remarkable journey: How 26,000 people on Change.org, as well as civil rights organizations, and the media, helped Teresa get an apology from the government. And how Teresa’s new community in Vancouver, helped her to have confidence and emerge as a professional artist and a self-advocate.