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21st Mar 2023

Street artist Emmalene Blake unveils meaningful mural for World Down Syndrome Day

Fiona Frawley

World Down Syndrome Day mural

The mural features a portrait of the artist’s cousin, Vicki.

Dublin street artist Emmalene Blake is known for being on the ball when it comes to cultural commentary – her murals hold up a colourful mirror to what’s important to Dubliners and those further afield at any given time, whether that’s climate activism, lockdown restrictions or huge wins for iconic sportspeople.

Her most recent mural commemorates World Down Syndrome Day and while her previous artworks have featured the likes of Cardi B, Greta Thunberg and Kellie Harrington, Emmalene has a more personal connection to her most recent muse.

The grayscale piece located in Harold’s Cross is a portrait of the artists cousin Vicki.

Speaking to RTÉ News about the mural, Emmalene said:

“I wanted to paint this piece to celebrate Vicki and all people with Down Syndrome. I think people with disabilities are massively underrepresented in the art world.

“I know I’m painting this piece for World Down Syndrome Day, but I don’t think that it should only be on days like this that people with disabilities do get representation.”

Via Instagram/emmaleneblake

Seal of Approval

Emmalene admitted she was nervous for Vicki to see the work, “as she wouldn’t be afraid to tell me if she didn’t like it.”

Luckily Vicki approved of the piece, telling RTÉ “I love it, I look like a model. It’s important for people with Down Syndrome and I can’t wait for my friends to see it.”

World Down Syndrome Day falls on March 21st and has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. For information on how to support and raise awareness, you can head to Down Syndrome Ireland.

Header image via RTÉ News

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