I’ve Not Always Been Canadian
A Travelling Exhibition On The Evolving Canadian Identity
If you happen to ask a newcomer to Canada, “Do you feel Canadian?”, be prepared for a host of different answers, because every immigrant’s and refugee’s path to integration is different and personal. What is the same, is that it can be daunting. In Phase I of the project “I’ve Not Always Been Canadian” ICA invited newcomers and established immigrants/refugees to share their stories of what it means to belong and to fully embrace a Canadian identity. This phase was facilitated by Artistic Director and Storyteller Lina de Guevara. We heard well over 100 stories. The stories were honest and moving accounts of the struggles and joys of settling into a new country. In Phase II of the project, local Photo-Journalist Quinton Gordon, worked with a select number of participants to translate these stories into portraits and short texts that give broader meaning to the idea of being Canadian. As part of Canada’s 150 year celebrations, our goal was to facilitate a deeper understanding of our community’s cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.
This Photo Exhibition is available to exhibit in venues throughout the Capital Regional District and across Canada.
Please contact Paulina Grainger, ICA Arts & Outreach Coordinator, for complete installation details and bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibition Installation: 15 Freestanding Banner Stands – 33.5 x 78.75 inches
“I came to Canada alone when I was a teen, with no English. My idea of Canada was hockey, snow and maple syrup. It was not easy but the kindness of Canadians made me feel okay. If I say to you that I’m Canadian, I feel I’m lying. But my son was born here two years ago and I think that has started to change how I feel.” – Project Participant
ICA Project Coordinator & Producer: Paulina Grainger
Project Portrait Photographer: Quinton Gordon
Storytelling Facilitator: Lina de Guevara
Project Scribe: Jaimie Sumner
Archival Photographs by: Eduardo Bautista
This initiative was made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Victoria Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast.