York Professor Nergis Canefe’s art on display at McLaughlin College

York University celebrated Refugee Rights Day in Canada on April 4 with a series of events at McLaughlin College.

The day included welcome remarks delivered by Sean Kheraj, associate dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, on behalf of Interim Dean JJ McMurtry; an opening commentary and greetings from Professor James C. Simeon, head of McLaughlin College; and a panel that was chaired by Department of Psychology Professor Michaela Hynie and the Centre for Refugee Studies.

Guests attending Refugee Rights Day events at McLaughlin College had an opportunity to view works of art by York Professor Nergis Canefe

The work and conclusion of York University’s Syrian Response & Refugee Initiative was also celebrated. The initiative co-ordinated the private sponsorship, by a number of different units at York University, of several Syrian families. (The Syrian Response & Refugee Initiative was based at the Centre for Refugee Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School.)

A large mixed media canvas depicts the peril many refugees face when crossing the Mediterranean

Immediately after the Refugee Rights Day in Canada ceremonies, there was the official opening of York political science Professor Nergis Canefe’s art exhibit in the McLaughlin College Art Gallery and Screening Room, 001 McLaughlin College. The art exhibit features a multimedia collection of Canefe’s most recent work. The title of her exhibition is The Road Less Travelled and it includes sketches and line drawings that she created in response to the widely circulated images of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean following events of the Arab Spring.

“The canvasses are prepared by using mixed media and the ephemeral quality of many of the images is deliberate and is intended to depict the unfinished nature of refugee life stories,” said Canefe. “Refugees are oftentimes invisible as they undertake their courageous long journeys to unknown destinations.”

A watercolour depicts the grief and trauma experienced by a refugee family

“McLaughlin College is delighted to be putting Professor Canefe’s amazing art exhibit on display in our gallery, which was inspired by the escalating refugee crises in the world today,” said Simeon. “Professor Canefe is not only an accomplished academic but, equally, an accomplished artist.

This large mixed media canvas commands significant attention

“In addition, Professor Canefe also happens to be one of our distinguished Fellows at McLaughlin College. So, it is doubly important for us to have her work displayed in the college’s art gallery to help recognize not only Refugee Rights Day, but also Refugee Rights Month in Canada.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Canefe’s work will be on display until the end of April.

To learn more about the exhibit, hours and the individual works of art, email Canefe at ncanefe@yorku.ca.