Border Crossings 101
border crossings, is an interactive community engaged arts project that uses the transformative power of art to challenge preconceived ideas around borders. By using stories and narratives as our main resource, we aim to fuel alternative ways of seeing across a broad range of physical and cultural contexts.
The project celebrates the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s commitment to bringing people and communities together using art as a common denominator.
The stories are personal and powerful, giving the audience access to personal histories and realities. Connecting our past to our present, these stories are being treated as media art pieces, rather than simple stories. They highlight, reinforce and challenge both traditional and contemporary world views as they relate to our relationship to land, to one another through sharing and connecting through laughs and heartbreak.
The border crossings’ first iteration in 2017 culminated in an interactive multimedia installation, through a combination of documentary audio, photographs, text, collage, objects and songs. Gallery visitors were invited to explore the participants’ stories and share their own.
Continuing into the GROW phase (2019-2021), the project continues to extend increased access to unique experiences for Mississauga residents and visitors, collaborations and newer ways to present art to new audiences.
Past Exhibitions 2020
BORDER CROSSINGS SHOWCASE
NOVEMBER 7 – JANUARY 7, 2021
Listen and view the stories that have impacted and changed the lives of Artists and our community, told through various forms of art. Come ready to experience emotions, beauty and resilience. Leave with a new understanding of the borders we all face daily and a better sense of community and connection. We all have a border crossing story to tell. The Border Crossings Project is generously funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation ( @ontrillium) through the Grow Grant, the Ontario Arts Council ( @ontarioartscouncil ) and The City of Mississauga’s Cultural Division ( @citymississauga ).
DEBBIE MILLER - Artist Statement
November 7, 2020 – January 7, 2021
“The #IHAVENOWORDS project was born out of my commitment to be a part of a call to action. I needed to harness and channel the rage, anger, disgust and profound sadness that I was feeling as a result of the unjustified killing of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020 by a Minneapolis police officer. As a black woman, mother, daughter, sister, wife and police officer, I could no longer remain silent. I needed to stand up and be a part of this call to action. A call for the acknowledgement that “black” people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day. Action that would result in needed and lasting change. I began to have deep conversations, particularly, with black men in the community, black police officers and mothers of black sons. During these conversations, I asked them to share their thoughts and experiences on cue cards. I sought their permission to photograph them as we spoke. The conversations were deeply emotional and introspective.
This collection of emotionally charged conversations allowed me to understand their feelings and capture images of the acute pain, suffering and profound sadness and frustrations that has beset our community.
In this tapestry of photographs and community quotes, I tell their stories. This photo-essay offers a view into the impact of inter-generational racism on black families and gives voice to their cry “… I can’t breathe…”. It is also a call to have courage; a call to pursue this shared path of resistance; a call to do the hard work to build a more equal, equitable and inclusive society.
Black people continue to be impacted by systemic racism. As a society, we need to stand together to ignite a movement against racism and discrimination. This requires all of us to continue the conversations, to listen, learn and act to invoke real and sustainable change.”
NOVEMBER 7 – JANUARY 7, 2021
My name is Kwesi Sekou Millington. Speaking is what I do now, but it’s not where I started. I’m a Speaker and Certified Speech Coach, but my background is in Policing. It wasn’t my lifelong dream to be a Police Officer, but have you ever ended up somewhere as a result of just “going with the flow” instead of purposefully planning your life?
In 2004, I left my hometown of Toronto, Canada and headed off to Regina, Saskatchewan, eventually to end up in Richmond, a city just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. I made it! I was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Officer.
Speaking was still not on my radar…I had no clue then where I’d be today…but life has strange ways.
They tell you as a police officer that it is highly likely that you will see death while on the job, and that it may even happen on your watch. But you still think, “maybe I’ll be lucky enough to avoid that happening…” I wasn’t.
On October 14, 2007, I attended a 911 call with my fellow officers and we got into a physical altercation with a man that had to be arrested. Unfortunately and tragically, he died shortly after being arrested.
The saga continued…
March 2009: Although the whole incident was video recorded, I was called to testify in court (broadcasted Nationally) at a Public Inquiry as to what I did on that fateful night.
The Stop Sign
The date – May 2011: Though I have never lied in my career as a Police Officer and was cleared of any wrongdoing by 3 different independent investigations, a Special Prosecutor was hired and I was charged with Perjury (lying under oath) for what I said in 2009.
THE HIDDEN BEAST – PTSD & DEPRESSION
There’s an old saying that says “the greatest trick the devil ever played is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.” I was lost. Facing a criminal charge and the possibility of losing my career, I finally started opening up more to my psychologist (whom I’d been seeing since 2009). I’m a tough nut to crack, but through therapy, I was able to get some answers….leading to diagnoses of PTSD and Depression. I’m not a big fan of labels, but exposing what I was struggling with and giving it a name finally started to allow me to figure out who I was.
Still figuring that out by the way!
Why do I tell you all of that? Because life is about speed bumps and stop signs. Often we confuse one with the other. Most people let speed bumps BECOME their stop signs. And between 2011 and 2013, I suffered through bouts of Depression and PTSD that left me wanting to stop permanently, many times.
JESSE LOUTTIT - Artist Statement
November 7, 2020 – January 7, 2021
I grew up in the suburbs, Brampton to be specific. I was born in Toronto before my parents decided they needed more space for our family. When I finished high school I left Brampton as fast I could. I wanted to get out and see more of the world. Since moving away, I have always felt that I could never move back to a suburb. Being recently married, I’ve thought about where I would want to live if my own family starts to grow. With the rising cost of houses in the city I have begun to question that feeling. Thinking back to growing up, I remember times of fun hanging out with my friends skateboarding, enjoying our summers and trying not to get into too much trouble. With this nostalgic and romantic mindset, I headed back to the suburb that I grew up in to re-create some of these memories with a new generation of kids who are wondering how fast they can leave.
Past Exhibitions 2019
JANUARY 15, 2019 – ONWARD
border crossings Showcase is on view at the AGM from March 28th – June 16th, 2019
Project Lead: Sharada Eswar. Developed in collaboration with and featuring the work of the Mississauga communities
Borders are both physical places, marked by barriers in the form of walls or coasts, and imaginary ones, indicated only by lines on a map, or places in our hearts. They are paradoxical, in that they both connect and divide. But they are, first and foremost, stories. Stories of changes in perspective – physical, psychological and ideological. Recognizing and sharing these border crossings allows us to see ourselves and others differently. Instead of groups of people separated by arbitrary distinctions, we are all individuals who experience pivotal moments of change that shape the contours of the narratives of our lives.
border crossings: creating parallel histories is an interactive community engaged arts project that uses the transformative power of art to challenge preconceived ideas around both literal and metaphorical boundaries. Visitors are invited to share their stories and experiences with crossing borders – geographical, linguistic, spiritual and personal. Through creativity and collaboration, we can recognize and respect the struggles that are a part of many border crossings, and learn to appreciate that sometimes the most incredible creativity lies at the edges of things.
border crossings: creating parallel histories is an Art Gallery of Mississauga initiative, generously funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Please check out the events page for more information on upcoming workshops and how to get involved!
Past Exhibitions 2018
border crossings: travelling along the in between
JUNE 28 – AUGUST 26, 2018
Guest-curated by Sharada Eswar and Sonja Rainey. Developed in collaboration with and featuring the work of the Mississauga communities
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 28, 6 – 9 PM
Chief Stacey LaForme will open the exhibition with a prayer and a poem honouring our waterways at 6:45 PM, followed by a performance by percussionist and composer Germaine Liu at 7 PM
As humans we are bound together by our intimate connection to water and our ability to create and communicate through story. Water and stories are vital veins that bind us together. border crossings: travelling along the in between points to these waters and speaks to the powerful role that the they play waterways play in our lives—it’s both a place of encounter between cultures and also a border and barrier to movement.
What then can we create that permits our stories to stay afloat, find each other and connect, shift and change the landscape of our collective understanding? The exhibition points to these waters. Through interactive workshops, we seek to hold space for the stories of our experiences: to explore our own narratives in new ways, to listen deeply, to interact, and to find new and ever-shifting connections. The liquid energies of these waters whose exterior is finite in size is designed to be aninfinite holding place for history and memory. It mirrors the echo of the ripples and provides support for the a multiplicity of experiences offered. The vessels reference the artefacts of what lingers, of what is remembered; buoyant navigational markings that hold these timeless stories.
Afloat in these metaphorical waters, swimming against the current is the storyteller—who speaks of myth, family, life, borders, cliffs and crossings. The story is simply this: each one of us has the capability and the potent energy to transform our own life, to learn, to act, to care, to be humane and to share, push and shift boundaries.
The exhibition is an ongoing invitation to share, create and let the water support, carry, bless and or cleanse our stories. Join us for a hands-on clay vessel and story workshop to add your voice to the waters.
Listen to the waters. Feel the undercurrents. Hear the stories. Leave a story.
border crossings: Making Story Vessels: Saturday, June 30, 2018, July 7, 21, 28 & August 4, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
A storytelling and ceramic workshop with Sharada Eswar, Sonja Rainey and Miranda Sharp. Join us at the Art Gallery of Mississauga for an afternoon of exploration and expression around the themes of border crossings. In this workshop, participants will be encouraged to explore and express their own differing and intersecting border crossing stories. Using word and story prompts, sigils and visual storytelling participants will make and paint their own ceramic ‘story bowls”
Registration required on Eventbrite. No prior experience needed. All art supplies will be provided.
Image above: Miranda Sharp, border crossings, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
The Art Gallery of Mississauga gratefully acknowledges the support of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Pottery Supply House, and the Credit Valley Conservation.
The border crossings project is generously funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) through the Grow Grant.
and the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Mississauga’s Cultural Division
300 City Centre Drive
Mississauga, ON L5B 3C1
Free Admission | Donations Appreciated
Charitable #11904 3586 RR 0001
**The Art Gallery of Mississauga is temporarily closed**
Tuesday - Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturdays: 12pm – 4pm
Sunday, Monday & Holidays: Closed
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The Art Gallery of Mississauga is a guest upon the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This ancient land is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee nations.