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Exhibit comes to life at Guelph-Humber

How do people with Down Syndrome navigate finding love?

This was the recent discussion at an event where Guelph-Humber students and staff could visit the photography exhibit “Love Means…” and meet some of the people showcased in the series. The event was done in celebration of Canadian Down Syndrome Week happening this week, October 23 to October 29, 2022.

”Love Means…” features nine stories depicting the different forms of love that people with Down syndrome experience. It is an awareness initiative launched by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) in partnership with Canadian photographer Hilary Gauld and videographer Scott Drucker, aimed at dispelling misconceptions and the lack of understanding about the lives of people with Down Syndrome.

Organized by Guelph-Humber 4th year Psychology student Lauren Abela, and Humber College CICE alumna, Jessica Rotolo, and supported by the University of Guelph-Humber’s Student Life Department.

Those featured in both photographs and the video made an impact on audience members as they described their experiences finding love and what love means to them. Love stories shared include platonic, romantic, same-sex and singles.

“Love Means…” was made possible through a $7,000 grant from the University of Guelph’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights as part of their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Enhancement Fund project, which Lauren and Jessica applied for and received over the summer.

The objective of the event was very clear for Rotolo who is featured in the exhibit with her best friend, Matt.

“I did this for people with Down Syndrome. I want families who have young children with Down Syndrome who are born with Down Syndrome to know that their children will find love when they get older,” Rotolo said. “I hope the public can see we have the same wants and needs as you do and we love the same way you do.”

Krystal and Tammy who met through mutual friends at an event, shared their story and told audience members some of the things they like to do together.

“We love to cook together we love to go on walks and we both love dancing,” Krystal said.

Photographer Hilary Gauld explained that much of the focus of her work over the past few years has been photographing adults and children with Down Syndrome. She has seen first-hand how photos can change perceptions and attitudes in communities.

“My hope for these visuals is to inspire, educate and create space for greater visibility of the experiences adults with Down Syndrome navigate, including love,” Gauld said.

To see the photos, visit