Local artist tackles issue of abortion in disabled children through art

Giving Birth to Love, the piece submitted by Ana Paula Becerra.

Mississauga-born teen artist Ana Paula Becerra took to drawing when she was 12 years old, and began painting when she was 14. For the last six years of her life, Art has been a big part of her life.

Becerra decided to enter the “So You Want to Be an Artist 2012” contest, an annual arts competition that showcases Canadian artists in the national spotlight.

“I found that entering this contest would be a challenge for me, a challenge to create a piece that means a lot to me and to expose it to as many people as I can,” said Becerra, 18.

“Art makes up a big part of my life and I know through this contest I can express my love for art, painting and meaning through paintings,” she said.

The contest is run by the National Gallery of Canada and is open to 16 to 19 year olds across Canada. The object of the competition is to create a piece of art about something you care about, and in Becerra’s case, she took her work with disabled adults and used it as inspiration.

“I work with four people with disabilities who have taught me so much about myself and the world that I can’t imagine a world without them,” she said. “Being around organizations that help these individuals, I have also been more aware of the view that society has about people with disabilities, or Down Syndrome.”

Becerra moved to Quebec last year to work as an assistant caregiver at L’Arche, an organization that works with individuals with developmental disabilities. Becerra says her time in Quebec and all the knowledge she’s gained helped her to craft her artwork.

“When I found out that here in Quebec, prenatal screening has become accessible to all mothers, and afterwards learned that in some countries, it’s an obligation to abort children with Down Syndrome, I imagined a world without joy, love and colour,” said Becerra. “The people I work with have helped me accept every single person, no matter what their abilities are, and I have learned what love truly means.

“For this reason, I strongly believe all children have the right to a life worth living, even if they have Down Syndrome or another sort of disability.”

Becerra hopes her artwork leaves a lasting impression on those who set eyes on it.

COURTESY: ANA PAULA BECERRA - Ana Paula Becerra, seen on left, with one of her residents with special needs.

“I hope that people will look at my artwork and feel love, and I hope that people will realize the enriching feeling of being wanted and how much these children with disabilities need to be loved, wanted, cared for and accepted,” said Becerra.

“Most of all, I hope that people will reconsider the idea of abortion and realize that these children can bring so much colour into everyone’s life,” she said.

The contest runs from March 26 to April 30, which gives artists enough time to promote their pieces to their friends through the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

The 12 submissions with the most votes then are put before a panel of judges, who decide the best pieces.

To find Ana Paula’s piece, you can visit here,

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