Imagine getting a work of art that you created accepted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, otherwise known as Wills and Kate Middleton. It would be quite a feat for anyone, which makes the fact that Tazia Fawley, a 43-year-old British artist with Down syndrome, who just had one of her works accepted by the royal couple, all the more impressive.
The Director of Heart & Sold, an organization that promotes artists with Down syndrome, Suzie Moffat, submitted a photo of the painting to St. James Palace. The painting, which took six months to make, features popular children’s character Rupert the Bear flying over a bridge in England’s Bristol Balloon Festival. Moffat received a letter saying the royal couple would love to accept the painting.
“We felt absolutely delighted,” Fawley's mother, Gylda Thomas, told TODAY. “It was a lovely thing that they did. Since Taz has had this publicity, I’ve gotten loads of emails from people, usually parents with Down's children, saying how wonderful Taz is and what kind of a role model she is."
Fawley’s mother is particularly happy about the effect this has had on her daughter’s self-worth.
“When you have a baby with Down's, it’s very easy to be depressed and quite negative, but when (others) see people with Down syndrome achieving something, it gives them a huge boost and makes the future seem a little bit more rosy," Thomas said. "By them accepting the painting, it's given such a boost to the self-esteem of people with Down syndrome, and I feel that's the most important message.”
Moffat added that Tazia “is over the moon that they like her work.” Tazia reportedly wanted to make a bright piece that would be perfect for Baby George's nursery, although there is no word where in the palace the painting will find a home.
Down syndrome or not, Tazia is quite an accomplished artist, with her own studio in the backyard of her mother’s home in Somerset, England. The artist has created 70 paintings over the past 14 years. She’s sold about half of them at exhibitions, but her mother is quick to point out that the money is not the most important part, especially in this instance.
“The main thing is just what an honor it is,” Thomas said.
An added bonus is that Thomas thinks this will help the negative connotations that tend to surround Down syndrome, particularly in England.
“In England, there always has been a stigma attached to (Down syndrome), and now that is washed away by the fact that the Duke and Duchess have accepted that painting,’’ she said. “For this to happen, it’s kind of turned that negativity around.”