Mapping skin deep 1

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Mar 17 2014

Location: 

Montreal, Canada

“Mapping skin deep” is an audiovisual public installation consisting of portraits with testimonies from refugee/undocumented immigrants currently residing in Montreal and elsewhere. Their bodies have been scarred in post-production tracing the route they took from their homeland to Montreal, hence mapping them skin deep. Recognizing and sharing the wisdom they have acquired, revealing the courage, the lessons learnt and the emotional scars remaining from the experience of being uprooted and rebuilding their foundations. Using art to give visibility to a population rarely seen as a protagonist in the public sphere.

The length of the scar traces the route they took from their country of origin to Montreal when placed over a map, and the deepness/thickness is proportional to the impact that the displacement has had in their lives. The testimonies give count to the way they have turned their displacement into a life lesson of courage and audacity.

Countries such as Canada and the United States are home for millions of immigrants; nonetheless immigration laws are getting more severe, intensifying nationalism, fostering xenophobia, discrimination and violence. Oftentimes refugees and undocumented immigrants are seen as “taking advantage of the system,” ignorant accusation that can start to be reverted by humanizing them and potentially changing the way they are perceived by society. Giving them an opportunity to project their identity onto the world by becoming ambassadors of their communities. Besides embodying the integration of a city´s different social groups, “Mapping skin deep” claims the city for all of its inhabitants.

The exhibition was placed in the Palace of Congress hall ways in Montréal, Canada. Viewers are invited to place a translucent map over the scars of each of the participants portrayed in the images and see the route taken from their countries of origin to their current location. As well as to listen to their testimonies of what they´ve learned from their experiences of displacement and courage.

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