When asked about people’s failure to consider the impact of “race” and “ethnicity” in their experiences, values and behaviors, Scott, a White male, shares: “it is a defense against the “traumatic” consequences of having to deal with the “difference gap” – difference related to race, ethnicity and culture – between whites and non-whites.” For all the Scotts living in Canada that find themselves to be one of the dominant group members, such a “defense mechanism” is perpetuated continuously throughout their daily lived experiences.
In an attempt to reconcile these attitudes of exclusion, Common Aliens has provided a much needed platform to address repressed narratives of identity. Similarly, the artists included in the exhibition have insightfully shared their distinct experiences as visible minorities striving to better understand their own diasporic identity. By alluding to imagined homelands; encouraging a close reading of their mixed histoires through ambivalent attitudes of conflict and desire; and even conforming to imposed expectations of “otherness” using subversive means, these artists have well demonstrated the accrued nature of ethnic representation as a socio-political construct. As Carl E. James argues: “ethnicity is not simply a matter of individual choice: members of society play a role in defining ethnicity.”
On this occasion, Z Art Space is pleased to collaborate with l’Atelier Céladon on the nurturing of this ongoing dialogue.