Exploring Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis exhibition opens at PAMA

Opening on  June 8, Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) presents Refuge Canada, a travelling exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With the upcoming World Refugee Day on June 20, the exhibition takes the opportunity to expand awareness of this global crisis to local residents. Join PAMA for the Exhibition Opening Reception with Marie Chapman, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 on June 16, from 2 to 4 pm.

Through images, soundscapes, first person accounts and artifacts, this powerful exhibition begins “no one wants to be a refugee, anyone could become a refugee.” Moving through major waves of arrival from Second World War era up to present day, Refuge Canada does not shy away from portraying the darker chapters of history. Hopeful stories of optimism and success are balanced by moving accounts of shattered lives, fear, and examples of Canada’s mixed record in welcoming refugees. The exhibition will draw visitors through its five themes: Life Before, Fear, Displacement, Refuge and Life in Canada, with hands-on opportunities to connect with the content. Crawl inside a UNHCR tent, look out a plane window as the shores of Canada approach and listen to refugees tell their stories throughout the exhibit. Refuge Canada will challenge and inspire as it brings visitors on a journey from darkness to hope, always calling into question preconceptions about what it means to be a refugee.

This exhibition has content that may be disturbing to some visitors. It was designed to help you better understand the many experiences of refugees coming to Canada and around the world. As Canadians become increasingly aware of the current global refugee crisis, Refuge Canada is an opportunity to gain historical context.

Refuge Canada was created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and supported by TD. 

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is located in the national historic site at the Halifax seaport where nearly one million immigrants landed in Canada from 1928 to 1971. Today, as Canada’s sixth national museum, we share the ongoing story of immigration to Canada—past to present, and coast to coast. Our exhibits immerse visitors in the immigration experience and allow for a deeper understanding of how newcomers shape our country. Our staff and collections provide opportunities for visitors to discover the countless journeys to Canada and find their own family’s connection to the story. Countless Journeys. One Canada.

Some key dates to note are the Exhibition Opening Reception with Marie Chapman, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 on June 16, from 2 to 4 pm.  Enjoy Connections Art & Book Club in partnership with Brampton Library featuring the novel The Boat People by Sharon Bala on Thursday, on June 13, from 7 to 8:30 pm. To register call 905-793-4636 . Participate in talk and book signing with award- winning author and Holocaust survivor, Max Eisen on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 pm.

“Canada has had a mixed record in welcoming refugees, reacting generously to some while overlooking others. Refuge Canada provides the context for Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis and brings to light the challenges faced by refugees in Canada. The exhibition also shares stories of success and contributions made by people who came to Canada as refugees” said  Dan Conlin, Curator, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

“PAMA is the first and only stop in Ontario this year for this impactful exhibition. We felt compelled to bring it here for the residents of the Region of Peel and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to experience as it will most definitely resonate explained Marty Brent, Manager at PAMA

“It is the job of a Museum to be a safe space for discussion and to present material that provokes meaningful conversations for all Canadians. We hope that by presenting these stories of strife, loss and triumph that we can learn about our history and collective contemporary realities in Peel, Canada and globally” said  Sam Cronk; Senior Curator, History at PAMA.

Visit pama.peelregion.ca to learn more.

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