Photovoice project was a winter highlight at Strathcona Heights

Fatima Zahra Mounfaloti

We have observed the seasons go by, a panoply of community initiatives taking place, and so many challenges that community members and leaders managed to navigate with such grace!

On Thursday, December 21, 2023, the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre and Ottawa Community Housing jointly held a holiday meal catered by Krackers Katering to celebrate the community’s abundance and accomplishments, as well as the power of diversity and healing. Participating residents decorated the room and served food to more than 150 individuals, welcoming all to this beautiful community-led initiative. “We have not felt celebrated in such a long time! We haven’t felt like this since COVID,” rejoiced a resident.

As we dive into the new year, we focus on the youth through the Photovoice Project- a collaborative project between Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, Lowertown Community Resource Centre, and Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre. The project was designed to empower and amplify the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) youth between the ages of 12-22 through the transformative art of photography. The project aims to address health disparities and social justice issues within our communities.

Participants received training to equip them with the skills to capture images within their communities. Olantu Nini, resident of Sandy Hill and program participant, shared these thoughts:

“Photography is a way to have people see the world through my eyes, no words needed. Lights, contrasts, shapes, and tones elevate our reality to another dimension. The rushy evening photography was taken on a Saturday evening when everyone was rushing home, or to the people they call home, without noticing how fast they were going, how fast life was going.”

In June, the participants will showcase their unique works in a city-wide event to be held at the Ottawa Art Gallery, highlighting the diverse photographic perspectives captured in Canada’s Capital.

Stay tuned!

To take this shot of the Queensway at night, Olantu Nini used an ISO of 100 to increase the camera sensitivity to light and create beautiful micro-thunders, reflecting how light was actually travelling by at a given lapse of time. “I was only able to capture these details playing with a camera setting and taking a shot at a given moment. If there is reflection beyond my photography for people to take with them, it can only be that we need sometimes to pause to be able to grasp fully our realities and give the best experience to our divinely designed sense.”
Photo: Olantu Nini