A 60ft piece of artwork by renowned street artist and activist Joe Caslin has been erected on a building on the corner of Harcourt Street and Clonmel Street in Dublin’s City Centre. The image entitled, Don’t Talk Down to Me, features a smiling 21-year-old Amanda Butler with Down syndrome marking Down Syndrome Ireland’s 50th birthday.
50 years on, a special report, The Upside – Life with Down syndrome has also been released today highlighting the gaps between the public’s aspirations and the reality for people with down syndrome and their families in day to day life. The artwork and report are part of the charities NEW The Upside campaign which focuses on four key aspects of life for a person with Down syndrome: health, education, employment and life in the community.
Speaking at the launch, Joe Caslin, who knows Amanda personally says, “This particular drawing, like all projects I have undertaken, has been personally poignant. I’m very proud to work with my friend Amanda and her family. In this drawing, Amanda invites you into her world – she asks you to consider her, her Down syndome and the positive presence she can bring to a space, a place of work, a neighbourhood or indeed a city.”
Barry Sheridan, CEO, Down Syndrome Ireland says “On our 50th birthday, we re-dedicate ourselves to a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realise their life’s aspirations and become valued members of a welcoming society. We hope this mural will grab people’s attention and that our report reveals the need for more action.”
21-year-old Amanda Butler, who lives with her family on a farm in Mullingar, enjoys cooking, is an excellent swimmer and loves music – particularly Westlife and Bruce Springsteen. She’s currently working on developing job skills through her college and hopes to find work in a hospitality, retail or helping to take care of others in childcare or adult day care service.
Excited to be part of the campaign Amanda says, “I am so excited to be part of Down Syndrome Ireland’s anniversary. I am grateful I have been given the chance to shine”
The artwork will stay on the wall for four weeks and people are encouraged to share the image using #TheUpSideDSI or can donate to Down Syndrome Ireland by visiting www.theupside.ie