Citizens
Portraits of Canadian Women of African Descent
  CITIZENS...
  CURATOR'S
THOUGHTS
  PHOTOGRAPHER'S THOUGHTS
  TESTIMONIES
  RESOURCES-CREDITS
Citizens

Citizens

AÏDA KAOUK
Curator

My "heroines" are "ordinary" Canadians, people like you and me, who agreed to give of themselves to the project I proposed to them: to share their stories, their journeys and their world, to be filmed and photographed, and to allow me to piece together a patchwork from these "fragments" of life revealed through words, objects and images.

With warmth and simplicity, they welcome us into their homes. They talk to us about their cultural treasures and their history, the heritage that they want to pass on, their will to "do their part", "to act and build together". The organizations they have founded, such as Solidarité Femmes Africaines (African Women's Solidarity) and Mamies Immigrantes (Immigrant Grannies), are a testament to their social commitment and their creativity.

All these women generously agreed to reveal a facet of themselves and their world, as reflected eloquently through the photographer's eye.

Born into African societies, some in Europe, these women left their native countries to settle in Canada, after a journey often marked by other sojourns in African and/or European countries. Like so many other Canadians of various origins, their profile has been shaped by a great diversity of languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures.

Each of these women, whether younger or older, has her own path, her own profile.

They were born in Rwanda, Cameroon, France, Romania, the Congo, South Africa and Benin, some of European mothers. They call themselves Canadian and African, and identify more with Africa than with their native country. Are they not called African in their new country? All of them now live in Montreal.

Each in her own way reminds us that what matters is not membership in a particular territory, but openness and a place to meet and create.



Ada Kaouk
ADA KAOUK
1946-2006