UNFAMILIARITY

A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION CREATIVE PROJECT (CAN | 2013)

In May of 2013, I watched the documentary film "Beautiful Child" dealing with Canadian aboriginal people who attended to aboriginal residential schools. I was strongly interested in how they were oppressed by the Canadian government and the churches throughout the film. It gave me a strong motivation to create art based on their voices. I began to research more than two thousands pictures on the aboriginals. This picture is one of those. I was fascinated by the girl's eyes, which seem to tell me a vital truth - the truth of the arrogance of some Christians.

The girl in the traditional costume gazes at the camera lens with a sense of curiosity; scared and wary of the superiority of the viewers. As a viewer, we encounter her eyes at the same level as the camera lens. Her startled face expresses an unfamiliar sense of the distance between her world and our world, rather than the real distance between them. This unfamiliarity would be a very instinctive response to the stranger's impolite approach to her world.

In the late nineteenth Century, Canadian government and churches tried to annihilate the aboriginal culture by taking aboriginal children from their families to the schools in order to socialize them into Canadian society. In the process of doing that more than 30% of the students died due to the child abuse of priests and nuns, and families of the survivors were destroyed because of the trauma. Although the last residential school was closed in 1990s, their suffering has still remained in the broken families. It is a natural consequence that many aboriginals hate Christians and reject God’s goodness and righteousness. For this reason, I believe we ought to pray for them.

I hope this work may offer the moment of the sincere prayer for the aboriginals' broken hearts as well as the repentance of our arrogant minds.

Let us not forget the wounded eyes of the girl.

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