Virtual Arts Centre — A Rightful Place

Exhibition essay by Gerry Rucker

Together with Common Weal Community Arts Inc., OSAC is proud to offer A Rightful Place to tour throughout Saskatchewan in our Arts on the Move program. This is a photographic exhibition of 24 portraits accompanied by 25 participant photographs and narratives.

Migration is at the heart of the human experience. We know that throughout history, people have undertaken significant migrations that have shaped the world we now live in: journeys made in hope and exploration, as well as journeys made by force or desperation. Today, around the world, migration continues in its myriad forms, but the resistance many immigrants encounter on arrival in a new place continues as well. This negativity, aggravated by such things as a potentially depressed economy or a fear of terrorism, can sometimes make migrants scapegoats. The benefits of the acceptance of newcomers and their cultural contribution and perspectives to our society is often lost.

A Rightful Place was created as an effort to stimulate connection with and acceptance of newcomers amongst local communities. While tensions between locals and immigrants may arise for a variety of reasons, too often it is simply a lack of understanding and familiarity which gives rise to problematic stereotypes and misunderstanding between groups.

The A Rightful Place Project was a two-year multidisciplinary art and social justice project, in which the lives and migration experiences faced by newcomers were documents through portraits and personal narratives of the newcomers. Due to the current high level of fear and distrust of immigrants that is being promoted by some in our society, it is our belief that sharing these personal images and stories as widely as possible is vital to the Saskatchewan community at large.

Included below are the Prince Albert residents whose portraits are included in this exhibition.

With thanks to the City of Prince Albert Arts Centre.

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