Common Front for Social Justice

Common Front Art Exhibit

Moncton, February 16th 2009

As a parallel activity to the Moncton Dialogue Sessions of the NB government to develop its Poverty reduction plan, the Common Front for Social Justice invites the public to visit an art exhibit focussing on people living in poverty. The official opening will take place on Monday, February 16, at 11 am at the Moncton Lions Community Centre, 473 St George St, Moncton. The exhibit will be open to visitors on February 16, from 4 pm until 9 pm and on Tuesday, February 17, from 1 pm to 5 pm.

In the "Participant Workbook" for the Dialogue Session, prepared by the Department of Social Development, it is stated that 16,116 families in this province are living below the Low Income Cut-off, commonly called the poverty line. Mention is also made in the Participant Workbook that half of the people living alone have an income of $20,100 or less. Most of these are living on less than $18,544, which corresponds to the poverty line for one person, as set by Statistics Canada in 2007. The Common Front for Social Justice decided to organize an art exhibit in order to give these people a face and a voice so they are not only viewed as a series of statistics.

The Common Front Art Exhibit includes, among the items displayed, an interactive presentation entitled "POVERTY OBJECTS". In order to demonstrate concretely what it means to live on limited means, members of the Common Front for Social Justice requested the people in its network to send an object signifying what it means for them to be living in poverty. They were asked to write, on a large label, why they had chosen the object. These exhibited items allow visitors to be in direct contact with what it means, in our society, to experiment deprivation, prejudice and obstacles. They show the efforts people make to move out of poverty with dignity.

One component of the exhibit consists of nine large photo-and-text assemblages representing the key findings of a participatory action research carried out between 2005 and 2007 in Greater Moncton. The co-researchers were low-income lone mothers working with Dr. Lynne Duffy, Professor at UNB Faculty of Nursing in Moncton . The method of Photovoice was used to investigate community health and quality of life, resulting in photos and stories around themes of finances, stress, support, personal development, violence, place, transportation, and public services. Another set of objects in the exhibit is a collection of black and white placards representing profiles of people living in poverty. These have been used during the traditional October 17th March to highlight the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty.

The exhibit also has a PowerPoint presentation which illustrates testimonies from people fighting poverty and exclusion. Their own sufferings are often brought about by governmental policies which, at times, allow very little room for compassion.

Finally, several photos, paintings and miscellaneous objects complete this unusual type of exhibit. This activity is a first for the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, Inc.

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For more information, call Auréa Cormier, ndsc at (506) 204-1134.