2017: Happy 150th Birthday Canada!
In 2017, Canada will be 150 years old. We asked both of our Italian-Canadian guest artists, and our Artistic and Executive Director Daniela Nardi: What part of our community’s experience in Canada would you want to see explored, discussed, shared, revealed?
The Italian community has literally built this great city of ours. These hard working people came here, built the city, built industries and created successful families. These self-made people created a foundation that no doubt we need to honour and be proud of. We now need to put some souls into those buildings. As Italian 2.0, we are moving beyond the community and are Torontonians. We must honour our histories because, not only do we need to know where we have been to know where we’re going, but we need to move beyond nostalgia and start pioneering a new path, a new awareness of the meaning of Italian-Canadian. Our parents have given us the very thing that they wanted to give to us: a new life and opportunities. It is up to us now to use those gifts and contribute to the evolution of this wondrous heritage we are a part of.
I think I would like to see how the Italian immigrant culture has evolved in a Canadian context and in relation to other cultures here, now that Italians have been in Canada for a long time. The last big wave of Italian immigration was after WWII (my parents came in the mid-1950s) and as we know, culture is not fixed, it is always changing. How does the 2nd or 3rd generation view themselves? We live in such a multi-cultural community in Canada. What does it mean to be an Italo-Buddhist, or what kind of challenges (if any) do people of Italian heritage who are in interracial relationships face, or what have been the challenges of people of Italian heritage in the LGBT community? I think we need to look at things that make us uncomfortable to talk about.
I would love to see the arts community showcased. I feel that we have really acknowledged the sacrifices of the generation that came to Canada and struggled, worked hard, suffered and made something of themselves for their families. We have also acknowledged the many hardships such as discrimination, internment and financial difficulties. There has been so much art that has been produced from our community that is yet to be truly recognized and showcased–musicians, visual artists, writers, actors, dancers. These people are able to produce all this work because of the hardships suffered by their parents and grandparents. It is time to share all of this wonderful work with the world.