Kitchener’s 2018 artist-in-residence, Sumaira Tazeen shines a light on newcomer experiences

Posted On Wednesday April 11, 2018

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener’s 2018 artist-in-residence, Sumaira Tazeen will engage female newcomers and the broader community in an open dialogue about cultural identity, displacement and belonging for her yearlong project titled, “Healing and Surviving: Sabz Bagh (The grass is greener).”

“As a new immigrant and a female artist in the Pakistani diaspora, I want to highlight the experiences of women who are new to the community. The name of the project, Sabz Bagh (the grass is greener) references those of us who come to Canada in search of opportunities and a better life, and who encounter a variety of challenges and barriers once we arrive,” says Sumaira Tazeen. “I’m excited to have this opportunity to engage with the community and explore experiences of culture and belonging through art.”

During her residency, Sumaira will lead a series of creative workshops, engaging female newcomers in the creation of collaborative needlecraft and textile works. Participants will be encouraged to share their stories of re-settlement. Using the art works produced in the workshops, and creating an audio installation from individual stories, Tazeen will mount an exhibition at Kitchener City Hall — offering a platform for open discussion and fostering inclusion.

“We are very excited to be working with Sumaira, an accomplished artist and educator,” states Emily Robson, coordinator, arts and creative industries. “We’re thrilled that Sumaira’s project will be exploring experiences of newcomer women, a specific focus we have not seen in our Artist in Residence program — one that has been under-represented, and is critically important not only to our community, but to the international community.”

Furthermore, Tazeen, a multidisciplinary artist, will engage the broader community through art activities, demonstrations and performances at local festivals and events. She hopes that the project will provide an opportunity for the public to thoughtfully consider the complex, and at times contradictory, emotions experienced by newcomers.

The works created during the residency will be displayed in a public exhibition at Kitchener City Hall and the ideas gathered presented in a public seminar.

Follow Tazeen’s Twitter account @siyahqalam, Facebook @siyahqalam and website www.sumairatazeen.com for updates by the artist.

For more information visit: www.kitchener.ca/air

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Media Contact:

Karoline Varin

Programs Assistant, Arts and Culture

City of Kitchener

519-741-2200 x7912

Karoline.Varin@kitchener.ca

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