The history, culture, and contemporary character of the South Asian community in Abbotsford is the subject of a major exhibition being planned by The Reach Gallery Museum.
The exhibit is currently scheduled to launch in the summer of 2021.
The Reach adopted a unique approach to designing the exhibition, which relies on co-creators from the South Asian community to make suggestions about themes, provide content, share stories, and guide the process of developing the finished product.
When a series of community consultations planned for this spring were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, staff were quick to respond.
Alysha Mahil and Gureena Saran, university students hired by The Reach especially for the project, initiated an online platform for community members to share their stories.
“We felt it was really important to continue to build momentum for the project,” Mahil said.
“So we created a community photo album on social media and are encouraging the public to share their stories, photos, and images of family heirlooms.”
Laura Schneider, executive director of The Reach, said the gallery is excited to undertake the project.
“While we have had exhibitions about various aspects of South Asian history in the past, this is the first time that we will put together a project of this scale that recognizes the vital role that this community has played in shaping the region,” she said.
The Reach is asking members of the South Asian community to get involved by using the online tool to post photos, videos, and family stories that convey what it means to be South Asian in the Valley.
Those who share online could see themselves featured in the exhibition next year.
To contribute to the project, search “South Asian in the Valley” on Facebook.