How many times a week do your friends and family — or a stranger at a cash register — tell you to take care of yourself?
Self-care can take many forms. Maybe you take a long bath after work, or maybe you meditate.
“Nowadays, when self-care comes up, it’s often treated (like it’s) a luxurious thing,” said Sundus Abdul Hadi, the curator of Take Care of Your Self, a transcultural exhibition exploring the intersection of struggle and self care. The exhibition’s vernissage took place on Friday at 3845 St-Laurent Blvd.
“That’s a reality that not a lot of us, people of diverse communities, whether we are people of colour, immigrants, Indigenous folks… we don’t often come from a place where self care can come in as a luxury,” Abdul Hadi, who is an Iraqi immigrant, said.
The exhibition, which features 28 artists from various cultural backgrounds, was intended to create a space of self-care where people could take their reflection on struggle and turn it into something positive, Abdul Hadi said.
“It becomes an act of preservation and an act of politicization…If we take care of ourselves, our communities are taken care of,” she said, adding that this makes the community stronger in the end.
In addition to paintings and sculptures, the exhibition includes an area filled with jasmine flowers, a screen print by former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party Emory Douglas, and a Filipino tattoo ceremony.
Dana El Masri, the perfumer who created the jasmine space entitled “Smell the Jasmines,” said her instalment is meant to be healing.
“The metaphor of the jasmine is very powerful,” El Masri said. “We’re coming here all together to help each other heal.”
She added that being part of the community itself is cathartic.
The exhibition is Abdul Hadi’s research creation project for her Master’s thesis. She said she was inspired by Mohammed Ali’s funeral service, which her thesis argues was curated by the activist and boxer.
“He really created a space for all of these diverse communities to grieve together and heal together, and be empowered together,” she said. “Most of these communities …are people of colour, and people who have endured great struggles …as a result of colonialism and systematic racism and oppression.”
Rather than art therapy, Abdul Hadi said the pieces in the exhibition represent the artists’ reflections on self-care and struggle.
“(The artwork) is not so much an expression of grief or sorrow that helped the artist cope with those feelings, but it is the result of that process.”
The exhibition runs until July 14 from 12-7 every day, and coincides with panels, workshops, and talks discussing self-care topics throughout the week organized by an art collective called We Are The Medium.
Source : http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/plateau-exhibition-shines-light-on-struggle-and-self-care503