By: Aaron Richardson
In a truly heartfelt and emotional performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Kate Evans read from her new graphic novel Threads: From the Refugee Crisis. A gripping tale about her experience as a volunteer in the refugee camps of Calais and Dunkirk, Threads tells stories about the lives of some refugees hoping to enter the UK. Accompanied by the terrific performance of Hamin Honari, an extremely talented Iranian-Canadian percussionist, her words strike deep in the heart.
“Although it’s impossible to truly understand the plight of the refugees in these camps, Kate Evans’ book acts as a fantastic start.”
Living in the world that we do, it is often difficult to understand the enormity of the refugee crisis. Even for those living in Europe, many are unaware of the conditions the refugees are living in. Although it’s impossible to truly understand the plight of the refugees in these camps, Kate Evans’ book acts as a fantastic start.
After visiting the camps to help distribute supplies and to build houses for the refugees, Evans captured her experience in Threads. With a truly heartbreaking setting, and a style that captures it perfectly, Kate Evans’ book is filled with images that are heartfelt, tragic, and emotionally stirring.
Following the performance, Evans, along with a few local Vancouver artists, engaged in a panel discussion on the role and the purpose of art involving and surrounding oppressed peoples. Speaking from the perspective of oppressed peoples, the panel discussed the power art has to raise awareness and inspire social change.
Moderated by mia susan amir (who prefers her name spelled without capital letters), the panel consisted of Evans, Fay Nass and Shawk Alani. A graduate student at SFU, Alani runs photography workshops for Syrian children. The project is done in the hopes of helping the children learn a “means of expression and personal narrative,” according to the Chan Centre event guide. amir is an artist, educator, curator, and much more. Her work centres on “the way sociopolitical events inform and are manifested intergenerationally.” With her company Aphotic Theatre, Nass “strives to use innovative aesthetic to tell diverse stories including those written and performed by women of colour, immigrants, and refugees.”
The work of Evans, as well as the work of the incredibly talented artists who participated in the panel, are an important part of understanding the perspective of minority voices in our society. Threads is a prime example of a work that is both emotional and informative, and as one of her more successful works, it’s partially responsible for bringing her work into the public eye. We can only hope that this allows her to create more works like this, and that we will be seeing more of her in the future.
For more information on this event, and the artists involved, see the Chan Centre’s website.