A True Story

A Juried Exhibition at the Vermont Photo Space Gallery

March 21, 2011 by Klara Hanincova

I am very excited to share with you that the juror Peter Turnley selected two of my photographs capturing the life of little Andrew as a part of A TRUE STORY exhibition at the Vermont Photo Space Gallery. Exhibition will open on Saturday, April 5, 2011 and the opening reception will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2011.

I had begun to photograph Andrew a couple of years back in the hope that showing a slice of his daily life will help parents, families and the public to realize that children with Down syndrome are “children” first. They have moods and emotions, they like to play with toys, enjoy life and learn new things. As any other children, they need to be held, cuddled, and most of all, loved.

A little boy with Down syndrome holding his favorite music toy.

Since he was a baby Andrew had a great love for music. He has a large collection of musical toys and is rarely seen without one.

Life with his loving family, so typical for Andrew, is forbidden to so many others like him. Sadly, even now, in many countries around the world, children with Down syndrome are seen as a burden on their families and a stigma of society. They live severely restricted lives in the emotionless, often cruel environment of orphanages and mental institutions. They die alone, abandoned by their families and betrayed by society.

A little boy with Down syndrome and his sister

Andrew’s disability taught his older sister Alex many things about acceptance of people differences, compassion and social injustice.

I believe that more often than not it is a lack of knowledge and prejudice about children with Down syndrome that leads to their sad fate. Even if, as a society, we acknowledge their existence, we often fail to get to know them and understand them.

I am very thankful to Andrew and his family for sharing their life with me and I hope that Andrew’s story will open the door into the real life of children with Down syndrome. Please indulge in the photographs and for a moment become a part of their world, because only then, when we get to know them, we can assure that they will live the lives that they truly deserve.

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