2011 Leadership in Action Fellow
Iranian Canadian Photographer, Kiana Hayeri
Project: Documentary Photography Project of Iranian Canadians in Toronto
Amount Awarded: $1500.00
This project is, at its core, a collaborative exploration that insists upon the right and importance of self‐documentation in Iranian diaspora communities.
The Canadian government is internationally recognized for its relatively open approach to immigration and multicultural cultural policies. But does this official multicultural of immigrants and newcomers on the ground? What is the experience of multiculturalism for newcomers to Canada?
According to the most recent Canadian census (2006), an estimated 46% of the Toronto population is comprised of immigrants, and Iranians represent the largest Middle Eastern nationality therein (Statcan 2010). Recently, the Toronto Iranian community has become more present in the public and political spheres: the first and only elected Iranian parliamentarian in Canada recently drew upwards of 120,000 people to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, and local schools systems such as the York School Board have hired Iranian cultural advisors and counselors to accommodate the fast‐growing population of young Iranians in the system.
Yet Iranian‐Canadians and their experiences of immigration and multicultural Canada have, as yet, remained on the peripheries of North American debates regarding multiculturalism and immigration. This documentary photography project aims to insert the experiences of Iranian‐Canadians into the larger discussions of Canadian multiculturalism and immigration, while also inserting the Iranian Canadian community into the visual record of Toronto life.
Born in Iran (1988), Kiana moved to Canada in 2005 to pursue post-secondary education. Soon she discovered the role that photography played as a way to bridge the language barrier. With a fine arts background, Kiana developed her personal style and approach to image-making practice by using the camera to tell a story, often with social comment. Presently her work embraces a distinctive theme that illustrates her cultural background. Kiana has interned with the Hot Docs Festival and Magnum Photo Agency in Toronto. She has worked as an assistant with Magnum photographers, Christopher Anderson and Peter Marlow.