I found these pics about a week ago via stumbleupon. I knew I wanted to post it but I’ve been mulling over it all week, trying to work out what I felt and thought about it. I’m still not sure but I’m keen to hear what other people’s initial and considered responses are. Right click the image below to see it in full.
So, I work with young offenders. And one night, I take a young person, who is working out their reparation, to a club for children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Whilst there I met a young lad, of about 16 years, who ‘suffers’ with Downs Syndrome.
Now, I grew up in a deaf family. My hearing is fine, so I am aware of what it is like to be deaf and what it is like to be hearing around deaf people. I grew up frustrated with people’s immediate presumptions about deafness. I saw people treat my family members as though they are stupid just because they can’t hear.
What I am saddened about, is that I made those same presumptions when I met this lad. I had very low expectations for what he might be capable of, or what level we might communicate at. However, after he ridiculed my pool playing and then thrashed me at pool, we then discussed football and loads of other stuff,and I felt an idiot and a hypocrite. What’s more, it’s not like he’s the first person I’ve met with Down’s. I KNOW that I shouldn’t just presume anything.
So, what are your first thoughts on these images? My first thought was that they are beautiful, but straight away I thought ‘Why’? Why pick actors/models with Down’s Syndrome? Are they being exploited? Why have I just wondered whether they are being expoited? Why do I feel a bit embarrased at or for these guys?
Over the week, I’ve thought more about the fact that the artist has chosen to do Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. I have no idea why he did, but I like this because there are verses that talk about Jesus as plant in dry soil, possibly being unattractive and stunted. The bible says that there was nothing attractive in his appearance. I love the fact that ‘Jesus’ in this pic has a pair of glasses sat beside him, if I lived before Jesus’ time and had to desribe what I thought the messiah would be like, I sure I wouldn’t have listed “short sighted” as a quality. I love this as a piece of art because it seems more real, more human and more challenging than the stupid blonde haired, blue eyed portraits of Jesus – the good looking Gentile that he was!!
I am keen not to have this post, and blog, feel like I’m preaching! I just stumbled across this and was desperate to share it. I really would like to hear people’s views on this and maybe get a discussion going. Share your first thoughts and maybe come back a while later and add if you have had more.
I’d love to hear from you. And by the way, I found these pics here. there is a discussion thread on that page which is very interesting but be warned, some comments are offensive, so please don’t go there if you might be offended.