Displacement project is part of a broader multi-arts initiative on the topic of exile and forced migration that is carried out by e-fagia collective and will be presented since the fall of 2009.
Toronto is the primary reception and settlement area for Canada's immigrants and refugees. Since the turn of the twenty-first century almost fifty percent of immigrants and refugees coming to Canada have settled in the Toronto Census metropolitan area (CMA), which comprises about thirteen percent of Canada's population. A high percentage of the community members that shapes Canadian society have experienced and have had to flee situations of violence in their countries of origin. The proposed collaborative project aims to raise awareness of the facts mentioned previously by bringing together local artists in the field of the visual arts in order to create several collaborative pieces with members of the community, relating to the concepts of forced migration (1), exile, and refugeeism (2).
This visual art project is directed to Toronto community members in the Parkdale-Highpark area who have personally lived experiences of exile or forced migration. This neighborhood provides a unique culturally multi-layered context to develop the project in mind, allowing for a broad spectrum of stories to be told and expressed. The collective of artists/organizers intends for each visual arts activity to open a forum for participants to share their experiences, and recuperating, representing, and manifesting varying expressions of memory regarding trajectories of geographic dislocation. Each member of the collective brings forth a solid background of experience and expertise for the development and elaboration of the proposed activities that integrate the larger project.
The project will provide opportunities for issues such as memory, place, borders, identity, home, nostalgia, travel, and belonging to be examined. It will also bring forward issues relating to the realms of public and private spaces, featuring publications and public presentations that will give the visual arts a stronger presence in everyday life. The diverse investigations of the art activities as a conjunct project will promote the exploration of the many geographies of the area to contribute to the fabrication of a landscape made of fragmented narratives, actions, and images.
Forced Migration Online (FMO) has adopted the definition of ‘forced migration’ promoted by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) which describes it as ‘a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (those displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects’.
2 The term ‘refugee’ applies to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality. As of 1984, this term also encompasses persons who have fled their country because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order.