'Homemade Purple Striped Corduroy Trousers (2017). Alcohol ink on yupo. 8" x 10"
Painting with the Past
A group exhibition curated by Angela Plesa, at Double Door Gallery May-June, 2018.
My contributions will be focusing on my childhood experiences as a white, english speaking immigrant. I first moved to Canada at the age of 6 months, and lived in Noranda, Quebec. I moved to Ireland in 1973 at the age of 4, and then finally to Oakville, Ontario in 1978 at the age of 10. At that age, all I wanted to do was assimilate - but my culture, my accent, my clothing was all different. My parents resisted assimilation, with tremendous cost to me and to my brother.
I frequently wonder about the experiences of immigrants of colour, with no common language. If I had a traumatic, bullied, difficult time trying to fit in, I cannot imagine the increased difficulty of children who did not have my advantages. But a common theme with so many immigrants is that the children want to become Canadian, but their parents want them to keep their first culture.
When my children were small, I would ask them what a Canadian looks like, and what an immigrant looks like. I always made sure that they understood that someone of colour could easily be a Canadian, whereas someone who looked like me (whom they assumed was Canadian) could be an immigrant. Colour is irrelevant.
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