Artist with Down Syndrome champions International Women’s Day’s ‘inspire inclusion’ theme

International Womans Day

An abstract artist with Down Syndrome wants to see more painters with ‘differences’ share their work – and is using the vehicle of International Women’s Day, whose theme this year is ‘inspire inclusion,’ to spread her message.

Fiona Stevenson, whose work has been exhibited in London, New York, Manchester and her native Hertford, and who has submitted works to this year’s Royal Academy summer exhibition, is one of a number of artists worldwide who have Down Syndrome.

And she is keen that her passion for creating – she paints every single day – will inspire others to find a way to express their emotions and share them with the wider world.

Fiona exchanged her first creative outlet – needlework – for the brush and canvas when she discovered the power of oils and acrylics to communicate her emotional responses to the world around her. She has never looked back, and her prolific output is on a par with Picasso’s as her studio fills up with canvases every day.

Both the #IIWD2024 theme words – ‘inspire’ and ‘inclusion’ – sit perfectly with Fiona’s aims. She wants to inspire others searching for a medium with which to express themselves, and for the composition to be assessed on its merits, regardless of the ‘differences’ of the person creating it.

“We are all different, but we are all one,” Fiona explained.

Fiona’s ‘mark making’ has been compared by her mentor and art teacher Julia Skrebels, with that of abstract artist Sir Howard Hodgkin whose intangible thoughts, feelings and fleeting moments were earthily transcribed, using expansive, expressive brushwork via a bold palette of gouaches and oils. His method of painting representational pictures of emotional situations is precisely how Fiona operates.

Her paintings, Fiona says, reflect her experience of her surroundings. It is the emotions these instil in her which inspire her to put paint to canvas.

Julia Skrebels adds: “Before beginning a painting Fiona may either choose an image that has some significance to her, or a colour or thought that attracts her. Fiona refers to what she has chosen throughout the painting and the marks she makes are made according to how she sees and feels about it.

“She has gained a reputation for creating work which is sophisticated and she always has a clear focused objective in mind as she paints.

“She has a natural talent and a passion for painting. Her work is bold, full of energy and she uses a brush to tell a story and each painting is full of layers of personal meaning.

“Fiona is a ‘passer being’ – someone who inhabits her own world which, at times, overlaps the worlds which others experience.”

Visual artist and associate lecturer at Central St Martins, Susan Aldworth, describes Fiona as ‘a maker of beautiful marks.’

This year’s International Women’s Day #IWD2024 theme, #InspireInclusion aims

to challenge stereotypes and encourages everyone to recognise the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life.

And Fiona Stevenson is doing just that.

See some of Fiona Stevenson’s work, and view her virtual galleries, here:

Fiona Stevenson Painting
Fiona Stevenson inhabits her own world and portrays her emotional responses to her surroundings via ‘mark making’ in oils and acrylics on canvas.
Fiona Stevenson - Egypt
Fiona Stevenson’s work has been exhibited in New York, London, Manchester and Cambridge
Fiona Stevenson Artwork - Blue Tit
Fiona created ‘blue tit’ at a school to show youngsters her creative process and inspire them to do likewise

For more information and photography please contact Fiona Stevenson’s press officer, Helen Lambell at Splash PR, on 07969 253147.

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