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Community Art At 395 Parkdale Seeks To Educate
If you have been walking outside of 395 Parkdale – you may have noticed a new addition to the community. The Bell box in front of the property has a cartoon character and a mosaic painted on it. The word immigrant sits above the character. It might have made you curious, but the story behind the new artwork is inspiring.
The character is “an Uzbek girl,” a signature character of community artist Kseniya Tsoy. Her pose on the Bell box mimics the one of Rosie the Riveter – an iconic image from the Second World War.
Kseniya seeks to use lighthearted humour to raise awareness of lesser-known cultures. Kseniya is herself a New Canadian from Uzbekistan and she uses the character to tell the world about her home country. She said she wants the image to empower new Canadians.
“As a female immigrant in three different countries I faced a good share of discrimination and prejudice and have always had to prove I can do it,” she said.
Kseniya painted the Uzbek Suzani on the box to signify the same meaning as the line “We Can Do it,” which was featured on the original poster. Suzani is a Central Asian embroidery art – performed exclusively by women.
“This image is meant to empower female immigrants, often people of colour, that WE CAN DO IT. It is also a reminder to the community at large to trust that we can,” Kseniya said.
This public art is the first in a series of Bell box grants led by the Hintonburg Community Association as part of an art project called “Racism is a Pandemic Too.”
“It was a perfect fit,” Kseniya said, adding she wants to continue promoting inclusion in a variety of ways.
For more information on Uzbekistan and to see Kseniya’s illustrated project featuring “an Uzbek girl,” visit www.alfergani.com/uzbekistan
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