Faster Than Light

Category: arts 279

Unique photo project put cameras in the hands of Fredericton newcomer youth.

“Felix Nandayitwameko, a participant in the exhibition and project, made this wonderful portrait of his younger brother. Stunning photo…” – David Miller.

The Charlotte Street Arts Center presents Faster than Light: An Exhibition of Photographs by Newcomer Youth in Fredericton, opening Friday August 19.  The coming exhibit will showcase the work of some of the city’s newest youth citizens created under the guidance of local artist David Miller with help from the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.

“The idea to invite Syrian and other newcomer youth to learn photography, to explore their surroundings and to mark their early experience in Fredericton as image-makers arose from a desire to contribute to the community-wide effort to help settle Syrian refugees,” said Miller. “Photographing seemed obvious to me. Language barriers could in part be overcome through visual expression. Photographing became an invitation to walk, to discover the city, to record chance encounters, family and friends.”

The response received from the greater community helped this project come to life. After Miller pitched his idea, staff at the CSAC went to work arranging workshops and collecting cameras for the project. This momentum eventually lead to support from the City of Fredericton, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Multicultural Association of Fredericton and several individual artist, all pulling together to make the delivery of this project possible. Faster Than Light has truly been a community effort.

“From the outset, the response from individuals, the community and from the participants was exceptionally open and enthusiastic,” said Miller, “and each participant approached their work with purpose and conviction.

“The camera is a wonderfully straightforward, powerful tool for self-discovery,” he said. “Every photograph holds the potential to reflect our self-becoming, our identity. In turn, the photographs we share help form meaningful relations. To act as an image-maker, to tell stories, is to add symbolic residue to the field of dreams that nurtures healthy communities.”

The exhibition will feature a wide range of work created through the project but as Miller points out, the works selected for display represent only a small portion of the images made during the process.

“The photographs selected for this exhibition form a small fraction of the images each participant made,” he said. “In this way, the images we see belong to much longer chains–of interconnected images and experiences in time. By producing an exhibition, each photographer chose to direct our attention to a single ‘link’, a moment of aesthetic delight, or to an instance that holds for them a special symbolic weight.”

Faster than Light: An Exhibition of Photographs by Newcomer Youth in Fredericton, opens Friday August 19 at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre where it will be on display until October 10 before moving on the Multicultural Association for remainder of the month and then to the Fredericton Public Library for the month of November. Don’t miss your chance to see this impressive and meaningful body of work.

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