Our Voices Exhibit!, a set on Flickr
June 10, 2014
For immediate release
Toronto-ON – The continuing journey of the Maleta (Suitcase) Project made another landmark in the recently concluded “Our Voices: A Portrait Series” art exhibit. Organized by the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario (PWC-ON), in collaboration with the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance/Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada (FCYA/UKPC) and SIKLAB Ontario, with the support of Toronto Arts Council, “Our Voices” follows the successful Maleta (Suitcase) Project as it continues to unpack the day-to-day lived experiences and realities of the Filipino Canadian community. The exhibit was hosted at Beit Zatoun House in downtown Toronto from May 31st to June 1st and was attended by over 70 participants and guests.
The evening began with a welcome address by PWC-ON and moving performances by “No Class Today,” the cultural arm of the Magkaisa Centre. PWC-ON welcomed participants and guests, and formally opened the exhibit with an overview of the photovoice project and the importance of arts and cultural work in their history of educating, organizing and mobilizing the community. With PWC-BC’s conference “History, Rupture and Continuity” coinciding that same evening, the need to continue forging a path to an empowered and unified community was manifested through the solidarity messages sent by members of PWC-BC.
Aside from featuring the community’s narratives and experiences, “Our Voices” serves as a medium where the culture of resistance is reflected in different art forms. Issues such as deskilling, non-accreditation of previous education, low wage and temporary work, and women’s equality were captured through mixed media and interactive pieces. The four main art pieces highlighted the challenges youth, workers, and women face. Picture in Picture: Filipino Women Across Decades brought out the experiences of women immigrating to Canada during different decades, their expectations, roles and responsibilities. The Life of a Caregiver tackles the systemic exploitation of the Live-in Caregiver Program, where members of the community, especially women, are deskilled and trapped in the cycle of poverty. Moreover, it is an interactive piece where participants were able to write down their reactions to the restrictions imposed by the temporary foreign work permit. Nurse Ka Na Ba? (Are you a Nurse yet?) is a short documentary film that brings out the stories of three young workers who studied nursing in the Philippines. The film stresses the systemic barriers in educational accreditation, as well as their current realities of daily life. Clothesline/Sampayan emphasizes theinterconnectedness of struggles and collective vision of the youth, particularly in the areas of education and employment.
PWC-ON member Jewelle Diaz stated that “stories of economic marginalization and systemic racism are far too common in our community. “Our Voices” exhibit definitely brought out our community’s voices and showed that we are empowered to tell our own stories—to struggle for our genuine settlement and integration here in Canada.”
Collective effort, capacity-building, and critical engagement were integral to the event’s success. Series of workshops, lectures, and direct community engagement, held throughout the project itself, helped to deepen the understanding of the current conditions our community faces. “Our Voices” is a marker of the Filipino Canadian community’s struggle against the intensifying neoliberal agenda that further our marginalization and social exclusion as a community. The pieces altogether illuminate the sense of solidarity and unified resistance that move our struggles forward.
View full photo gallery here: http://bit.ly/1mzI6fv
For more information, please contact:
Philippine Women Centre-Ontario