Laois Down Syndrome Exhibition

Laois Down Syndrome Exhibition

HERE I AM exhibition shows children are more than just their extra chromosome.

When you see a child with Down syndrome do you look away, do you stare, what do you see? In these photographs from a new coffee-table book, and ground-breaking, open-air public exhibition, photographer Dan Murphy challenges us to look again at some Irish children with DS and see who they are beyond the extra chromosome.

Everyone with Down syndrome in their life knows the difference between a look and a stare. A look can be driven by delight, curiosity, affection and amusement. A stare is something else entirely; but a stare, most often, is born out of ignorance.

Here I am Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Down Syndrome Ireland

Here I am Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Down Syndrome Ireland

A look is what is invited by the pictures on these pages. A look, a second look, a long look at who these Irish children with Down syndrome really are. And who they are goes far past the fact that they have Down syndrome.

Kerry photographer Dan Murphy first really looked at a child with Down syndrome two years ago, when his wife began minding a friend’s daughter, who happened to have that extra chromosome. Dan began to hear stories of struggles for support and therapies and schooling and, on the flipside, he heard stories of love and achievement and ambition and hope.

He began to take pictures of Kerry kids with DS and then took his camera around the country. He had the idea of publishing a book of images that could make a difference and make people rethink who they believe a child with DS to be.

Then, Dan heard about a wonderful public exhibition in the Netherlands, comprised of huge mounted photographs of children with DS and, with their help, came the genesis of what has become a beautiful coffee-table book and an exhibition that could shake up the whole country and its view of Down syndrome. Starting in Dublin Castle, his pictures capture the heart and soul of children with Down syndrome and the exhibition is now visiting towns all over Ireland, where everyone could gaze afresh on these kids.

Dan’s photos are more than cute pictures of children. The children he captures are beautiful and clear-eyed and open-faced, and, if you gaze upon them, you see that while each one has Down syndrome, they have so much more going on, too. They are themselves. They are worth looking at, and looking at again.

Laois Down Syndrome are delighted to host this exhibition in conjunction with Laois County Council and Laois Heritage Forum as a lead up to 2015 Heritage Week. The official launch of the exhibition will take place at the civic plaza outside the County Council Offices on Saturday 8th of Aug at 12pm.  The exhibition will run for two weeks. Copies of the book will be available on the day and at local bookshops.

Speakers at the launch of the exhibition will be Michael Gorman Chairman Laois Down Syndrome, Down Syndrome Ireland President Mary Doherty, Exhibition brainchild Dan Murphy and Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Catherine Fitzgerald.  Ann Marie Kelly of Midlands 103 Radio will compere the event on behalf of LDS.

There will be music and Face Painters supplied by Laois County Council on the day for the kids.

There is an open invitation to everyone to attend this event in support of our children and adults with Down Syndrome in Laois and surrounding environs.

All Laois Down Syndrome families are most especially invited to attend this event in support of their children and their Local Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.


Michael Gorman


Laois Down Syndrome