Ahed Alshaqran 

'Joy'

 

I'm 17 years old and from Syria. I believe that I became a strong woman after moving to Canada because all I want to do now is follow my dreams and show the world that nothing can stop me. When I was eight years old I was almost killed by a bomb. I felt nothing because I was used to it, and that's what I remember of my childhood: conflict, devastation, and blood.  I wish I could relive my childhood and play outside without hearing bombs. For my image, I wanted to show my future filled with colours, flowers, peace, and success. I’m a positive person who loves to laugh, works hard and enjoys life. Self-categorization has a strong influence on my behaviour and I believe that everyone, whether conscious of it or not, has options. I'm hoping everyone relates to this because we all struggle with something. Life is difficult, but you can make it easier on yourself by surrounding yourself with colours, dreams, and happiness. One step at a time, follow your dreams and never give up.

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Carson Masse

'Smashing Expectations'

 

Art is communication. I’m not a speaking person. Art helps get ideas across. In my photo, I crash into Uber offices. I’m there with my friend Hannah to get a job. It’s one thing I can do with a wheelchair-accessible van. People don't expect wheelchair users to have jobs. Just like me, crashing through the wall. It’s a surprise! My photo is about being included in my community. My photo is about taking up space. People make spaces accessible when I have the courage to show up.

Esther Bangura

'Tranquilty'

 

If I were to describe myself using only one word, it would be liberosis; the desire to care less for things. I've chosen this word because it, unfortunately, describes how I feel about most things. Because of that feeling, keeping a hobby for more than three days is a miracle. I feel no thrill lying on my bed staring at the ceiling nor do I feel any walking in a mall, or even at an amusement park. I yearn for the type of excitement and wonder that follows me everywhere, the one that I experience flipping through pages, the one that is brought to me through fictional books and mangas. And that is how my image came to be. I knew it should express the dream-like haze I feel whilst reading, the feeling of being in another world, one that's limitless, one where you can feel emotions of immense anger and sadness but somehow find peace in it all.

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Kristiana Bigelow

'Refuge'

 

My piece represents how some individuals in our society feel like they are not themselves, or are being forced to conform to what others want. Some individuals don't flourish where others usually do, society puts them down for it and pushes them to fit in. Everyone has their own growing conditions and other people need to respect them. It is the individual's choice in regards to where they want to be and how they want to present themselves. People know what is best for them and do not need anybody else to tell them where they should be or what they should be doing with their life, no matter how close they are in terms of their relationship.

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Nancy Diaz
'A Reach for the End'

When you’re born, you don’t look like anyone, talk like anyone, and yet you still share the same dreams with everyone through a cycle of sleep. When a person dreams of things so odd and yet so familiar, it’s overwhelming knowing that no one else sees the same images as you do. But, I couldn't even begin to imagine the things you have in common with 7 billion people. The ways we connect aren’t through the things that make each one of us unique but through the familiar things we experience when we close our eyes, breathe and sleep. I create that familiar feeling by mixing memories of imagination and reality within a single photo. This makes a comfortable; yet scary place to be. For me, the place that's scary is reality, and the imagination is comfortable. Once both of those are made into a single memory and shared with everyone, a person can be comfortable knowing they aren’t the only ones remembering this real but unreal memory.

Maggie Guiltner

 My inspiration for this piece stems from my love and nostalgia for my birthday parties as a kid. I remember waking up super early every year to wake my mom and inform her that I had in fact aged another year. And, it wasn't the excitement of having a party or seeing all my friends at once that made me love my birthdays so much. I looked forward to my birthdays because of the way I felt when the party was over; when all my friends had gone home, the food had all been eaten, and the lights were still dancing to Britney Spears. The most peaceful time of my life.

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Rory McCarthy

 

Dreams happen every night whether you remember them or not. This is a picture that represents a dream I had that really stuck with me. When people look at this photo I want them to think. Think about how time is moving around them and that it is okay to just sit and watch. Sit and observe without the constant nagging feeling of time limits and when you need to do this or that. I want people to look at it and really think about the time they have and that it's okay to take a break.

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Tristen Kidd
'Good And Evil'

My goal for this image is to give the viewer a glimpse into my imagination; my visions of skeletons trying to pull me into the void of my dreamscape. My intention was to show a bad dream but with a good outcome. Not just a dream where I die, but one where I overcome. This dream represents the fear of everything in life trying to take me down, which is represented by the skeletons. Having me (the subject) pulling myself out with the chains of the bad dream shows me trying to escape all the stress and struggles of life. I would like the viewer to go away with the sense that anything is possible and you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way given enough time and effort.