Women´s Art Festival:
Immigrant, Refugee, and
Friday, August 2nd to Sunday, August 4th, 2019
Saw Gallery (Arts Court)
67 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9
Azra Rashid is a Montreal-based filmmaker and postdoctoral fellow in the department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Azra’s academic research is focused on testimony and representations of gender in discourses of genocide. Her film practice is focused more generally on gendered experiences and women’s rights.
A WOMAN´S PLACE
Women are impacted differently from their male counterparts in genocide. As seen in Cambodia and Rwanda, after a vast majority of men were killed in genocide, women faced the issue of survival all over again. Similarly, women from the First Nations have had to navigate the business terrain after the genocide, residential schools and other atrocities committed against their people in Canada. To fulfill their economic needs in communities ravaged by conflict and trauma with no infrastructure, women are learning new skills to survive, including how to start and run their own businesses. That is the reason why many city markets in Rwanda and Cambodia today are dominated by women vendors and many First Nations women return to city centers to help their businesses grow. This is a film about Inez, a Nuxalk woman from Bella Coola, Ange from Rwanda, and Nimola and Kunthea from Cambodia, who are survivors of genocide and own small restaurants in their communities. This film examines the connections between food, politics, and survival, more specifically it explores the struggles faced by women entrepreneurs and the way their lives are impacted by global politics and economy.
My films attempt to put creative arts and academic research at the service of women’s rights activism. Academic research rooted in creative art closes the gap between theory and creative practice by focusing on creative art as being compatible with theory and offering insights into real problems in the real world, making practice-based research self-reflexive. As a South Asian feminist filmmaker, it is my own lived reality of my race and gender that has guided my research and my practice as a filmmaker. The focus of my work has been on bringing women’s experiences and their stories out of the private and into the public domain and challenging the hegemonic reading of gendered experiences. In my work, I attempt to name the experiences and individuals who were previously silenced in favour of the collective.