Art by Larisa | 01May2011 | Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn
Need for Canadian content in CMHR
Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I enjoy projects
that involve research and interpretation. "Flowers
of the Bible", "Baba's Garden", "Celebrating Women", and the Leonard
Cohen collection "Dance Me..." could not have been created without
access to libraries, archives and museums. These facilities
have been my life-line.
So I was very excited to hear about the new museum in Winnipeg -- The
Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Those of you who are
teachers, historians, writers, composers, lawyers were probably right
there with me -- expecting a Canadian facility that would focus on and
address Canadian issues with a global perspective.
My presumption has been that there would now be a world class museum
with resources that focuses on enlightening us, our students, our
children and our visitors with respect to Canadian injustices, Canadian
Human rights accomplishments as well as global issues that have deeply
impacted Canadians (and were in fact the reason for many immigrating to
I not only paint, I also teach and I have really been looking forward
to directing my students to the new facility and personally exploring
the CMHR for some specific information related to sensitive Canadian
topics e.g. Residential Schools, WWI Internment, Canadians as Peace
Keepers as well as international issues that have had a deep impact on
Canadians, such as the Holocaust, the Holodomor and atrocities in
Rwanda just to name a few.
However, many of you, like myself have probably become aware that the
proposed content of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, may not
meet our expectations. I refer specifically to the proposed permanent
displays, which sadly seem to be short on Canadian content.
This will probably in turn also be reflected in the digitally available
material, which usually runs parallel to, and complements permanent
displays. Permanent displays are the ones that are always there. They
are the displays that give the overall perspective on the issues and
how they have shaped and moulded our community/country, and permanent
displays exhibit the information that we the visitors hope to have
access to at any time. I want permanent Canadian content, I need
permanent Canadian content in order to continue my research, paint new
paintings and create new collections and I expect that actual and
virtual visitors to the museum are anticipating the same.
It appears that there are some who feel that community input into this
matter isn’t warranted. I, however,
Attached is a Media Release that is being circulated by the Ukrainian
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. It is in response to a small
group who seems to feel that speaking our mind and demanding that our
public facilities offer equal representation is none of our
business. Though the release speaks to issues specific to
Ukrainian Canadian concerns with the CMHR it will give you a broader
understanding of the issues at hand that effect everyone. Please read
it for more background.
I'm not ready to accept this shortfall in public resources. I know I do
not live in Winnipeg, but I do visit the city and would visit the
museum and I would definitely be one of their regular digital/ virtual
visitors. My tax dollars are going towards this new museum,
my community donations have also been directed there. Whether as an
individual or as a group I expect better and hope you support
me in letting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights know that they can
create the best in the world by working with the Canadian community,
not excluding it.
If you are in agreement please feel free to forward my comments and the
attached Media Release.
I appreciate your help and support in assisting me in my research for