This photo series came to me through a recommendation, and it is simply incredible. Faisa Omer is a Somali-Canadian photographer, and Portraits of Black Somali Youth from Ritchie is a project that she published in 2020 in an effort to refute the stereotypes of young Black men living in the Ritchie neighbourhood of Ottawa. She paired each portrait with testimonials from the subject on the racial discrimination they have faced growing up in Ritchie. The result is a deeply moving collection of photographs.
I loved clicking through these photos purely on an aesthetic level, because they are stunningly beautiful works of art. But it was heartbreaking to read the stories that went along with them. As a Canadian living overseas, I’m often confronted with the image other countries have of Canada. That it’s this utopian paradise of freedom and self expression. And while Canada is an incredible country in many ways, people are often confused when I try to explain to them that Canada is also far from perfect. In reading these stories, it’s clear that like in most countries, we have a long way to go before all people living in Canada are treated equally. Hopefully projects like this can help close that gap by fostering more empathy among us.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!