Derry artist Tori celebrates 21st birthday at home during lockdown
Lockdown was never going to stop talented young Derry artist Tori McNeill and her family from making sure her 21st birthday party was marked in style. The family pulled out all the stops on Wednesday to make sure Tori had an amazing time as she celebrated the milestone with mum Dara and the rest of her family at their Knightsbridge home.
The young Waterside woman, who has Down Syndrome and autism shortly, has previously come to attention because of her stunning collection of artworks, which were showcased in two exhibitions last year.
And lockdown also hasn’t caged Tori’s creativity as mum Dara said her daughter has been keeping busy with her brushes at home.
“She has been doing amazingly well in lockdown,” Dara said. “She is quite happy and painting every day. And she is also doing an online course with the Gasyard on setting up a website for people with autism.”
Dara said Tori loves her birthday and they were determined she would not miss out this year, with a party, cake and presents organised.
There were also lots of video messages from her friends and family organised via Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
Tori is known for her stunning use of colour and unique style, and her passion for her craft shines out from her work. She is also a keen photographer.
The 21-year-old has previously been described by her art teacher, Karen Torley from Banyan Theatre, as someone who ‘paints mainly in acrylics and watercolours but over the last year has grown so much as an artist both in ability and confidence’.
Testament to this is her large Facebook following and the great support she receives from across the country.
Tori has also been supported by Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, with whom she had been learning printing skills under their social enterprise programme.
Happy 21st birthday Tori!