‘Wear We Came From’ exhibit highlights Asian migration to Canada

TORONTO — From a school project to a passion project, this photo-audio exhibit of vintage apparel reflects the diverse migrant stories of young Asians living in the Toronto area.

Audio recordings of the participant interviews lend color to the visual display, allowing audiences to appreciate the history behind the clothes and accessories worn by the subjects — hence the event, Wear We Came From.

“So many times when we think of immigration or migration we think of our parents’ generation or the generations that come before us.  We forget about how much of it affects us as well, and I think the clothing although they are physical items that are so tangible, they bring so much more,” says photographer Stephanie Xu.

“What we found was that all the stories of migration were different. I think It’s really a testament to the diversity there is within the Asian-Canadian community.  We really uncovered a lot of that and through the lens of younger generations,” said Izzy Docto.

Among those featured is a Filipino Canadian who collected some of her grandmothers’ outfits to stay connected to her roots.

“It’s so hard to keep track of your identity especially when you’re moving to a different country. Usually I wear my grandmother’s clothing when I don’t feel as powerful in my own clothes,” said Nina Escalante.

Sponsored by P40 collective, the pan-Asian artist community hopes to spark conversations on issues faced by young Asian-Canadians.

“I think identity is really a major thing right now.  A lot of people are struggling with which culture do I belong?  So I think that’s why a lot of young generations are coming to these events so they can see but also reflect and think back on their own stories,” said Mirae Lee.

A digital version of Wear We Came From is now available online, which organizers hope will open up more discussions on migrant stories across Canada.

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