Theme: Education System
“Ana” spent 16 years working as a psychologist prior to coming to Canada from Peru. Her original perception of Canada prior to arriving was that of a place which offered great professional opportunities with support systems available for those who needed it. When she arrived as an international student to study English, she received very little help and was not legally permitted to work. Due to those factors and her inability to continue making payments on her incredibly high tuition, she ultimately lost her status. I wanted to show the contrast between where she was professionally back in Peru and where she is now in Canada. The academic structures in this country charge extraordinarily high fees
for international students, but don’t do enough to accommodate the burdens they ultimately face when they arrive.
Theme: Housing Discrimination
When “Triana” arrived in Canada from Uganda she, like many in her situation, had trouble finding work and housing. Many places refused to rent to her because of her status and her pregnancy,
but luckily with the help of NGOs and folks from the local African community, she was slowly able to get on her feet while navigating all the hardships and discrimination many newcomers go through.
I thought about how the community she cultivated helped her get her bearings a bit, even though she still had many hurdles ahead of her and struggled with her mental health. The support, in a way, helped take her life back in her hands–a metaphor I tried to capture using a Fisher Price-like playset not unlike something her child would play with now.
Themes: Employer Abuses and the Medical System
There are snakes in the world that are ready to take advantage of newcomers and the undocumented for their own personal gain, and with many newcomers not aware of their rights, many of these abuses of power go unreported. Mr. Gray encountered this at work (an employer that went back on their word after promising to hold his job after an on-site injury) and at a hospital (a doctor that tried to take advantage of him after his health card wasn’t working, telling
his patient that he could just pay him directly instead). “Mr. Gray” described himself as someone who typically likes to do things himself and not ask for help, which reminded me of the loner-type lead characters in a lot of action movies or similar genres. So, it felt fitting to take his story and turn him into the lead in one of those films.