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Pure Presence 2013 to 2019

When Kamal first came to Canada from his Native Iran in 1998, he had the good fortune to visit the Elbow River Camp at the Calgary Stampede, and receive an invitation to Tsuut’ina Nation Pow Wow. And so, began a long relationship with the First Peoples of his new country. Right away entranced by the dancers in their beautiful Regalia, he began snapping black and white portraits for himself. The people he encountered reminded him of Iran’s nomadic peoples with which he had worked extensively with. They also reminded him of the family he had left on the other side of the world.

Inspired by the determination to promote and safeguard a culture which only a generation before had been threatened with extinction, he enjoyed the friendship, the good food and took the first portraits of what would become this collection. “CELEBRATING RESISTANCE”.

         Kamal pursued this relationship after relocating to Montreal. At first with McGill University’s First Peoples House and then with the Atikamekw of Manawan and Wemotaci where the majority of these portraits were taken between 2013 and 2019.

         The portraits themselves speak of individual humans celebrating the very act of resistance and cultural survival; of cultures rich and colorful, fighting to be acknowledged, seen and appreciated. The collection has been displayed in 2019 at the Musée des Maîtres et Artisans du Québec in an exhibition named. Exil – Peuples d’ici et d’Ailleurs.


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