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Toronto family showcases five-year-old daughter's artwork on World Down Syndrome Day

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A dozen hand-drawn, and sometimes abstract, pieces of art are on display in west-end Toronto. The gallery debut is a major upgrade for the artist -- whose usual canvases include her parent’s hallways and refrigerator.

Five-year-old Olly Sardelic, who was born with Down Syndrome, picked up the craft during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as her father explains it, she quickly produced a number of works.

“We were indoors so much and as an activity we took on drawing as sort of a daily routine and she really took to it,” Tom Sardelic told CTV News Toronto.

Her creations, some of which are bursting with colour and others strictly monochromatic, feature images of flowers, family, birds, and ice cream in an almost neo-expressionist style.

On Tuesday, Sardelic’s parents unveiled a dozen of those pieces at a small studio in the city’s Queen West neighbourhood to mark World Down Syndrome Day.

“We just want her to sort of experience it without it being tainted by the parents,” Tom said. “We thought, this is perfect, we could exhibit her work. We’ve been stockpiling it for so many years now.”

Five-year-old Olly Sardelic is seen amongst her drawings in Toronto on March 21, 2023.

Sardelic’s grandfather, a creative in his own right as an acclaimed sculptor and painter, was there for Tuesday’s show and celebrated his granddaughter’s talents.

“She’s discovering her ability. To us, she’s incredible,” Ante Sardelic said.

The solo exhibition is on now until April 1. 

With files from CTV News Toronto's Scott Lightfoot

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