A Family Vernissage at CEREV for Palestinian Canadian Life Stories

On Thursday February 7, 2013, the Palestinian Canadian Life Stories working group presented to our families, friends and colleagues, a multimedia and art exhibit of Palestinian Canadian Life Stories, a project born from curiosity, founded in friendship, and built on trust.

The Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence, at Concordia University, hosted this first and intimate vernissage of our labour, of our stories.

The evening carried an energy, a warmth, a love, and everyone present was curious, engaged and happy to read, hear and experience our presentation.

As for us, the six members of Palestinian Canadian Life Stories, we felt an exhilaration leading up to 7 pm on February 7th, and a satisfaction to see our olive trees, our photos, our poems and our voices portrayed so movingly, even for us who have seen and prepared the different pieces so many times.

The words and encouragement we received throughout the evening were resounding, and the smiles beaming.

We are looking forward to presenting the second and public vernissage of Palestinian Canadian Life Stories aimed for Fall 2013.

We share part of the comments conveyed by the visitors of February 2013’s vernissage:

“A human story. A first step towards understanding.”

“Listening to the news is not like listening to personal stories, and
learning of the trauma of the Palestinian people. Politicians do not want
us to know each other, as this brings us together. Borders and politics
create hatred as their mission is for power and ego, and not with a
humanist goal.”

“Conserving heritage.”

“I appreciate discovering the stories and faces of fellow Québecois.”

“Very inspiring project. It presents conflicting notions of what is just,
the role of memory, and invites us to step out of preconceived ideas, to
see someone who was presented as an adversary. This is useful in other
communities, for compassion and reconciliation.”

“Great idea, educational. This will be left for people to listen to. An
effect on generations. A great accomplishment.”

“This project is a seed for a project that should grow across Canada.”

Our gratitude to Monica Eileen Patterson and to Lex Milton whose collaboration was instrumental in accomplishing a beautiful first launch. We thank the generous teams at the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS), and the Center’s five-year, multi-community initiative, Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations; and at the Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV), Concordia University. A heartfelt thank you to the donors who made possible the web site PalestinianCanadianLifeStories.com

Post by: Rana Alrabi

Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence