Artists: Yalda Safaei Boroojeny; Nicole Sukdeo
The IMSS group is in the same room as the Women’s Centre for their workshop. As noisy and as exuberant as the women’s centre reps are, they are quiet and poised. Such a contrast I think. The one as politically vibrant advocate, ready to fight and tackle injustice; the other in the background, quietly supporting others to excel, putting skills and knowledge to work for others.
They approach their task much as I imagine they would approach an immigrant student: Calmly, quietly, scoping out the extent of the assignment, determining boundaries and expectations, verifying tasks and resources before conferring and quietly deciding a course of action, which they immediately put into action.
They build a mind map. In the centre is their word “student.” Radiating out from it, they brainstorm all of the elements and characteristics they associate with “Student”, the body they serve, the word they have been assigned. They are master gardeners, planting and nurturing growth through learning, the curiosity they feed and entice. They see themselves as noun, as an open door, and as a verb, a way to open doors, to possibility, to the future also to identity, to the ability to answer “I am…” . It is a heavy responsibility, but they tackle it with resilience, with ideas.
They explore the images to capture all these ideas. They are heads down, intent and fierce and quiet and committed and also, fighters too, just quieter about it. How lucky, I think, the immigrants of this community, although they may never know it, to have such noble resourceful team on their side.