Art Dates & Locations
July 1st – August 31st
Victoria Park and
Michel Huneault was curated by AKA.
Before devoting himself full time to photography in 2008, Huneault worked for over ten years in the international development field, a profession that took him to over twenty countries, including one full year spent in Afghanistan. Michel holds a MA in Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley, researching on the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley and then in NYC, he was a student and assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress. His practice - often mixing photography with immersive elements - focuses on development and humanitarian issues, on personal and collective traumas, and on complex geographies. Michel received the 2015 Lange-Taylor Prize for his work on the Lac-Mégantic catastrophe — published as a monograph by Schilt — and the 2016 Travers Fellowship to continue his research on migration. ROXHAM, a new project documenting the crossing of asylum seekers coming to Canada from the USA, has also been adapted as a virtual reality experience by the National Film Board of Canada (www.nfb.ca/roxham).
- Stop! If you walk further, you’ll be arrested.
- I know; I am really sorry. You have to help us; we are entering.
In early 2017, the number of asylum seekers arriving at Roxham Road sharply increased. This quiet road between the United States and Canada became the location with the largest number of irregular border crossings in the country.
Roxham takes us to the moments when Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers intercept these individuals. Documenting 180 border-crossing attempts between February and August 2017, Michel Huneault captured their stories in images and sound.
In the photographs, the asylum seekers are shown in silhouette. Composite images of various fabrics shield their identity, preserving their anonymity. These textures come from another photo series Huneault made during the 2015 European migrant crisis.
At Roxham Road, the border is invisible, the confusion is palpable and emotions run high. Migration, an exceedingly personal decision, has been thrust to the forefront of public and political debates. Roxham Road is quickly becoming symbolic: it embodies the tensions between the international responsibility to welcome others and the duty to protect a national territory.
The 10-metre-wide Roxham Road becomes a microcosm of the world’s crises, offering a personal glimpse into the confusing quest for a safe place.