Download a QuickTime VR movie of the exhibition
(Photo: Harry Foster  © Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation)

Being far from one's country of origin, if it is a source of grief or nostalgia, also opens up a space of creative freedom. In effect, separation makes it possible to see one's self and the references of the past in a new way, allowing at the same time a distanced perspective on the host society and relationships among peoples. In other words, distance permits us to be at once "myself" and "the other."

Rawi Hage  Adel Alnaser  Bernice Lutfie Sorge Jamelie Hassan Karim Rholem

In this way, some artists come to intertwine historical references with their own experiences; others devote themselves to creating an undefined space between fiction and reality in order to convey an existence between two life milieus. Still others create dialogues between myth and reality, or between "people here" and relatives back home, or they become interested in the historical, social and cultural context underlying all representation.

The artists make use of distance and the multiplicity of their reference points to describe, question, displace and deconstruct with complete freedom, or to decode conventional or repressive images and representations.

Without complacency, and through diverse registers, references, voices and languages, they remind us that what counts is the creative space, and not the fact of belonging to a given territory.