Exhibit explores life stories, experiences of York’s refugee students

Students from York University’s Health & Society program have created a unique and evocative exhibit depicting the life stories and experience of students like themselves – first- and second-generation refugees and migrants to Canada.

exhibit refugee studentsThe project, “A New Home, A New Opportunity” drew its inspiration from the plight of Syrian refugees in the fall of 2015. It is intended to foster awareness of the rich life stories of students who come to Canada – and ultimately to York University – in search of a better life.

The free public exhibit is set to run March 8 to 10 at in the Bear Pit, Central Square. A seven-minute video made collaboratively by students and a York film graduate presents a rich compilation of recorded interviews with York first- and second-generation migrant and refugee students.

A display of 18 material culture object images and the accompanying texts explore what Canada means to these students and their memories of a life left behind.

“There are some of the memories that we remember but we try not to look at, the violence and the street harassment of girls, and the individuals with disabilities that were looked down upon. And these are issues that we study here at York and we are educated about them,” says Zakia Razai, York student and Afghan refugee. “However, there were good things too, like family, friends and the food of course, and just the atmosphere of being there and being welcomed that makes it home. I feel I am living with two different identities, one that’s attached to back home, Afghanistan, and one that’s here.”

The exhibit is meant to reveal how these students are redefining the meaning of Canadian multiculturalism.

The exhibit runs for three days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more, call Sumaya Abdullahi at 647-529-0763 or Daniel Porretta at 416-835-8630.