Community Connections

Maria Abogado, Teaching Mahjong, 2019.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) teamed up with Community Development Council Durham’s (CDCD) Community Connections Program to highlight the experiences of newcomers and immigrants in Durham Region. The Thomas Bouckley Collection, housed at the RMG, has over 3,500 photographs that visualize the history of Oshawa. However, the collection lacks the stories and perspectives of many of Oshawa’s residents. This community project is part of an ongoing effort to address these gaps, and to celebrate the community in its entirety.

The CDCD is a not-for-profit organization that has focused on enhancing the quality of life for individuals, families and communities in Durham for more than 50 years. CDCD’s Community Connections Program gives opportunities for new immigrants to Canada to practice English in conversation circles, learn about their community, meet new friends, and enjoy social events celebrating equity and inclusivity. Together, the RMG and the CDCD developed a community project aimed at giving participants an understanding about the history of their new community, as well as making them feel connected and a part of it. Following virtual workshops, the participants were tasked with taking photographs that capture their lives in their new community, and consider their important role within it. Their contributions are celebrated in this exhibition and will be added to the Thomas Bouckley Collection, upholding Bouckley’s vision to collect images that reflect the continued evolution of Oshawa.

Participants submitted a wide range of photographs including quiet moments, intimate interior views, community events, special locations and family gatherings, reflecting their experiences and daily realities of living in their new community. The RMG would like to thank all the participants for their incredible enthusiasm and willingness to share these important images of their lived experiences.