The Art of Immigration

Research team: Sheila Petty, University of Regina; Joy Emelogu, University of Regina; Brahim Benbouazza, University of Regina; Djemaa Maazouzi, University of Regina

The research will explore how newcomer experiences, and experiences of immigration, including trauma, memory, longing and belonging, are expressed through the creative arts and become factors or motivators of innovation and creation. Immigrant artists, as they work through issues of cultural identity and social and political justice, define and re-define the essence of artistic practice, creating a new language in the process.

The research includes two parts:

  • Curatorial research focusing on a literature search and identification of artists and art works; mapping the terrain; conducting library/database and internet searches; and preparing annotated bibliographies
  • A co-curated exhibition with immigrant community members as co-organizers to create a public forum where both the “specialist” academic audience and the more general and diverse (immigrant) communities of the gallery/museum can explore the issues engendered by the research. A group exhibition of 3-5 artists at the Central Gallery of the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina is scheduled for September – November 2017. This will include a relational art project involving an artist in residence who will work with the community for two weeks; two video/media-based art works and other artworks. The Gallery plans to tour part of the exhibition.

The research will employ methodologies from the humanities and fine arts including co-curation and relational art practice. Co-curation and relational practices can shift the way social and community services are provided, making them more effective, efficient, and sustainable. In relational art practice, the audience is envisaged as a community and meaning is elaborated collectively.