Have you ever wondered how much talk time 3$ would allow, while you set an alarm for 2:00am to be able talk to your family on their lunch break? For many people in Brandon, calling cards are their only connection to their distant loved ones. A relationship that BU’s own fine arts student Albyn Carias aims to explore in his upcoming thesis exhibition. Carias says, “Calling cards are the connection between my home country and Canada, and they keep the connection to my family alive.” Carias immigrated with his family from El Salvador 10 years ago when his father got a job with Maple Leaf, he says, “My parents gave up so much back at home just for us to have more opportunities … starting from zero is not an easy thing.”
The purpose of Carias’ work is to start a conversation about immigration and showcase the different experiences of the community. His work expresses the journey of his own family and culture in Canada, as well as the journeys of others, Carias says “there’s a lot of stories that haven’t been told.” A large component of Carias’ work is community, as he notes “when you move and you start from nothing, there’s this feeling of isolation, you don’t really know anyone… I was lucky to have my family, but there are people who have immigrated by themselves and they don’t have anyone.”
Members of the immigrant community have contributed writing in their native languages and various art pieces that will also be assimilated into the exhibition.
Additionally, the exhibition is the starting point for conversation about immigration itself, “There’s still this fear, this stigma surrounding immigration. I want to do this exhibition to show people we’re humans, too.” Carias feels that although Canada is a wholly multicultural place, people are still avoiding issues surrounding immigration that need to be discussed, including racism, stigma, and alienation. Carias hopes to tackle these topics while celebrating the success and perseverance of those who have immigrated to Canada. Carias plans to expand on these ideas eventually pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts.
Carias is looking for used calling cards to be incorporated into his art, they can be dropped off at the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art. The thesis exhibition will be March 23rd to April 1st at the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 25, March 14th, 2017.