Dublin Arts Council
Exhibit to offer new view of Down syndrome
After spending time in the United Kingdom, Turkey, China and other countries, “Shifting Perspectives” will make its U.S. debut this month at the Dublin Arts Council.
The exhibit, compiled over nine years by photographers in the United Kingdom, will provide a glimpse into the lives of people with Down syndrome.
The exhibit will be on display from Sept. 27 to Nov. 4 at the Dublin Arts Council, 7125 Riverside Drive.
The photography exhibit came to Dublin through resident Lito Ramirez, DAC executive director David Guion said.
“Lito Ramirez is a Dublin resident and has a child with Down syndrome,” Guion said. “He brought the project to us about a year ago. I guess he had seen the exhibition and thought this would be the perfect venue. It’s a very intimate space, and the photographs demand close looking and close inspection.”
Lito Ramirez, CEO and founder of Down Syndrome Achieves, said he found the photographs when looking for more accurate images of people living with Down syndrome. After finding the same images time and time again, Ramirez stumbled upon “Shifting Perspectives,” which is curated by U.K. photographer Richard Bailey.
“We were really in search of strong, powerful and emotional photos that would communicate not only the mission of our group, but Down syndrome in the contemporary sense,” he said. “Richard’s portfolio, it was eye-opening that someone had shared this fundamental belief of our organization and showed Down syndrome in an unconventional way. That was what was so powerful about the photos. É It speaks to what Down syndrome can be if we allow ourselves to really look beyond the box we tend to put people with Down syndrome in.”
Down Syndrome Achieves is a nonprofit group that focuses on awareness and education, as well as funding and scientific research.
“Little has moved in the past few decades in Down syndrome. No one knows what causes Down syndrome, and that’s what piqued my interest,” Ramirez said. “I looked at the national landscape, and groups are focusing on awareness and education. I wanted to use my skills É to really open the door further on scientific research and the associated issue of Down syndrome funding.”
According to Ramirez, few people seem to know about what productive lives people with Down syndrome could have.
“The outlook of Down syndrome is wholly different from even 20 years ago. A lot of people with Down syndrome are going to school, holding down jobs, getting married,” Ramirez said. “(Shifting Perspectives) lends itself to that message that these folks can achieve.”
“I think there are misconceptions and there is a sort of outdated way to approach the condition, so people associate the condition with certain characteristics,” Guion said. “This sort of breaks through those misconceptions, and it is individuals leading everyday lives, getting married, working, enjoying and celebrating life.”
In addition to righting misconceptions on Down syndrome, Guion said, the exhibit also will remind people that Dublin is a diverse place.
“I don’t think it is always perceived that way. This does add to the sense of diversity and identity we see ourselves in,” he said. “This is just one aspect of seeing ourselves differently. I think individuals that are the focus of the exhibition really celebrate everyday experience, and certainly, Dublin has those same avenues of celebration.”
Bailey and two local photographers will host a discussion of the exhibit moderated by the Wexner Center’s Ann Bremner at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the DAC. A reception for the artists will follow from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The exhibit will remain on view until Nov. 4, with viewing hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
For more information, look online at dublinarts.org.