Artist Alison Lapper talks about losing her son, who was "my greatest piece of artwork and creation."
Artist Alison Lapper's 19-year-old son, who posed for one of the most famous statues at Trafalgar Square by Marc Quinn in 2000 (where the marble sculpture was on display in Trafalgar Square from 2005 to late 2007) has reportedly been found dead. Lapper’s fiance Si Clift confirmed the news in a post: Tragically, Parys Lapper, who was only 19 years old, died suddenly a week ago. According to Daily Mail, he requested well-wishers donate to the Mental Health Foundation in Pary's memory. Lapper suffers from a condition called Phocomelia where she has no arms and shortened legs and is about 3 ft 11 inches tall.
Another beautiful life ended because of the scourge of mental health. My interview with Alison Lapper on the death of her son Parys whose final years were blighted by bullying, depression and drugs. My heart aches for this extraordinary woman and mother.https://t.co/scDf9K3zZv— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) September 1, 2019
She has mentioned that she had miscarried 4 times and found it difficult getting pregnant, but when she finally had her baby boy Parys Lapper, she was absolutely elated. I had been pregnant in my 20s, had miscarried four times and had always assumed that becoming a mother was not a possibility for me. But when I became pregnant again in April 1999 I knew I wasn't going to miscarry. I was very fit and healthy and everything in my body and brain felt right. When my baby boy was born I was euphoric. He was healthy, he was cute, he was a blessed miracle: wrote Lapper in The Guardian.
In tomorrow's Sunday Times I speak to Alison Lapper, whose 19-year-old son Parys tragically died earlier this month. It is the most heartbreaking interview I have ever done. She is an extraordinary woman. pic.twitter.com/lKcFQw6rLY— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) August 31, 2019
When she wrote the piece, Parys was only 5 years old. She continued: Parys is now five years old, and we've been through a lot together. I am the only person who has been constantly in his life since he was born. My disability hasn't ever created a barrier between us, but if the children at school tease him or make negative comments about his mother he may find it hard to deal with. It makes me nervous at times, but I know we'll get through it and come out smiling. We always have.
Parys Lapper death: Disabled artist who posed for Trafalgar Square plinth opens up about loss of 19-year-old son.— Labour's Black PLP (@LaboursBlackPLP) September 2, 2019
Very sad story of discrimination and lack of support from services and wider society. 😢https://t.co/3AxBlSImOY
Sadly, it seems that Parys had been battling depression and anxiety because he was bullied by his peers. According to The Metro, the artist told The Sunday Times thatParys had been taking drugs from a young age. As a teen, he would smoke joints just hours after waking up. It was getting difficult for his mom to take care of him, so he was taken into care. He struggled with mental health issues and once even spent a night in a cold field.
Deepest condolences to Alison Lapper on the impossibly tragic loss of her 19 year old son #paryslapper . I have always loved this unpublished portrait of them both when we met at the site of the imminent installation of her sculpture in 2005. #alisonlapper #childofourtime pic.twitter.com/kQvw0O3z6D— ANSETT (@richardansett) September 2, 2019
"I don’t want my son to be remembered as a junkie, as just another drug's death,’" she said. "The drugs were a consequence of what he had been through." The British artist herself has been through so much, as she was abandoned by her own family as an infant and she had to grow up in various institutions. The 54-year-old from Brighton has never named Pary's father who left them before he was born. Raising him on her own, Lapper fought hard to bring up her little boy against all odds.
The death of Alison Lapper's son, Parys, is so tragically sad. Marc Quinn's Trafalgar Square sculpture of mother and baby bump was such a hopeful image for all of us. "Son of disabled woman who posed pregnant for iconic plinth sculpture dies at 19" https://t.co/4T68KJvkDe— Anna Chen (@MadamMiaow) August 27, 2019
"When I saw him, I just cried and cried," she said, weeks after her son's birth in 2000. "The emotions I felt were indescribable. I had never imagined I was going to be a mother, never thought it could be possible. But when they placed him on my shoulder and I gave him a little kiss on his head and said 'hello', I was overwhelmed." The single mother had to take care of her son while she pursued her career in arts.
She received a first-class honors degree in fine art at Brighton University and received an MBE for services to art in 2003. She was even awarded an honorary doctorate at Brighton in 2014, but she admitted that her son was truly "my greatest piece of artwork and creation." Parys’s life was viewed by millions of BBC viewers in the acclaimed documentary series Child of Our Time, which observed the lives of 25 youngsters until they reached their 20th birthdays to increase understanding of childhood development. Unfortunately, Parys did not make it to his 20th birthday.