"Lettre au pays" (Letter home)

CMC S94-8812; PCD 97-339-089

By Tahir Shwan; Weston, Ontario; 1993; acrylic on paper; 27 x 23 cm. CMC 94-455

This painting was inspired by, and is intended to be representative of, the millions of letters that immigrants send to their families back in the homeland; in particular, immigrants who have come from countries where freedom of expression is suppressed. It is a written instrument in what is primarily an oral culture. As such, it is made up of formulaic expressions (such as customary phrases of salutation and closing, and the conventional statements dutifully made when writing to family), which make it little more than a hollow shell — what the letter leaves unsaid reveals more than what is written.