Alma Sheppard-Matsuo artwork

Seeking Protection Is Not A Crime

“Seeking Protection is Not a Crime” is a 5.5’ X 12’ foot mural commissioned by the Queer Arts Festival, a three-week multi media art festival that began in 2010. Festival coordinators reached out to Rainbow Refugee – a grassroots organization that works to support people with refugee claims in Canada on the basis of gender and sexual orientation. The piece made its debut in July 2014 at The Roundhouse, a community space in one of the more affluent areas of Vancouver. In one of the few sunny days in January, I sat down with Melanie Schambach, a social artist who served as the artistic coordinator, and Katherine Fobear, a community activist scholar who served as one of the project coordinators, to reflect on the process and ethics of bringing together art, scholarship, activism, and community to a public that is largely unaware of the realities facing queer refugees and even more unaware of the power and process of making social art. Continue reading here.

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