Book Launch & Art Show

Please join us from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, August 2nd
to celebrate the launch of Teresa Pocock’s second art and poetry book:
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.

Location: Gallery Gachet, 9 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC
Admission: Free
Refreshments will be served

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 available on Amazon.)

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.


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 launched at her solo art exhibition at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

As a person with Down syndrome, Teresa has experienced systemic oppression which makes her blossoming as an artist “totally amazing” indeed. In 2013, at age 49, she was (wrongly) declared ‘incapable’ of making her own decisions and placed in an Ontario long-term care home. Her liberty and freedom was traded for a single bed in an end-of-life nursing home. The health care system had wrapped her in “a cocoon of impossibility” and her future looked bleak. This was a life-changing crisis. Teresa did not want to be there. She had things to do, places to go, and people to meet!

Fortunately, Teresa’s father was able to secure Teresa’s release. The next day Teresa came to live with her sister Franke James. Three months later, on March 1, 2014, they moved from Ontario to British Columbia with the dream of creating a better future.

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. The Vancouver Sun wrote about Teresa, “Artist with Down syndrome written off as ‘incapable’ blooms in the Downtown Eastside”. Their 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 “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” is available for purchase for $25.00 and at Amazon. Visit

This entry was posted in Events, News
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    Gallery Gachet is a unique artist-run centre located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Gachet is a collectively-run exhibition and studio space built to empower participants as artists, administrators and curators.


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