Grandmother, baba, nona, yiayia, babcia: how would you describe your grandmother to the world? The Canadian Embassy in Stockholm hosted a photo exhibition entitled Legacies, highlighting Canadian women and diversity and providing a backdrop to events focusing on gender, integration and culture throughout the month.
The exhibition, created by Canadian Gina Valle, consists of 24 portraits of women from different countries who came to Canada as immigrants or refugees during the past half-century. The photos of the women, all grandmothers, are accompanied by short texts written by their granddaughters and expressing appreciation for their grandmother's influence in their own lives and their contribution to their communities. The texts are in English, French and the native language of the country of origin of each of the women pictured.
Legacies opened at the Embassy as a backdrop to a seminar focusing on Canada's integration experience, which was attended by over 85 invited guests, including Sweden's Minister for Integration, Erik Ullenhag. This seminar was held in conjunction with the publication of a book entitled The Canadian Model: How Immigration Leads to Work, and topics covered during the panel discussion included integration and multiculturalism.
The exhibition was then displayed at Stockholm’s Historiska Museet (National Historical Museum) where seminars and displays to mark International Women’s Day were held.
The exhibition then moved back to the Embassy, where it provided the backdrop for a lecture and reading by Montreal-based author Serge Lamothe, and again for a lunch in honour of visiting Vietnamese-Canadian author Kim Thúy, who came to Canada as a refugee from Vietnam and whose book Ru won a Governor-General's Literary Award in 2010.
Valle, whose exhibition was inspired by the work she did on her book, Our Grandmothers, Ourselves, was proud to represent immigrant women as symbols of Canadian strength.
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