As part of Canadian Multiculturalism Day Celebrations 2022
Exhibited at David Crombie Park
Murphy Owusu’s photo exhibition entitled “Water No Get Enemy” provides us with an intimate and global perspective on the physical and political landscape of water and humanity. The exhibit brings our attention to global indigenous peoples’ and their everyday acts of resistance against the ongoing extraction of their lands, and encroachment of their way of life. The photo exhibition, unveiled on Canadian Multiculturalism Day June 27, 2022, consists of a selection of 8 photos and it takes us on a journey with Murphy as he reflects on his travels from his home country Ghana, to São Tomé, Ethiopia, and Turtle Island. Through his lens, Murphy reminds us that, despite colonial legacies that separate us from it, we are a part of Nature – the land, its waters and other-than-human life forms.
Unveiled on Monday, June 27, 2022
On display from June to November 2022
Filmed and Edited by Recro Digital Marketing
Jamii’s 2022 theme is titled “Water is Memory”. It is an invitation to (re)connect the memory cells of water to the stories of our community. In “water” we recognize and honour that our neighbourhood, the Esplanade, was under water less than 200 years ago, and the meaning of “Esplanade” is “boardwalk by the water”. We also embrace the unseen waters that bring life to our surroundings as we acknowledge the river that crosses underneath our community.
This theme is an opportunity to bring “water” to the forefront of our programming, addressing both issues of environmental degradation, climate change and access or lack thereof to clean drinkable water in many Indigenous communities across so-called Canada, such as our partnering community in Pikangikum First Nation.
In “memory”, we dive into exploring how the shared and life-changing memories we create with our community can impact and enhance social cohesion and health outcomes of our community members. You belong to a community if you share its collective memories and thus, memory works as an important agent of social cohesion.
All of the artists and contributors to Jamii’s 2022 season are invited to enrich this theme with their own perspective and interpretation.
About Photographer Murphy Owusu:
Since I was young, I’ve loved taking pictures: I like the idea of freezing a moment in an artistic way. My professional photography journey started in 2016 after my small holiday camera got stolen during a trip in Malaysia. After that, I decided to buy a DSLR camera and this is when I developed my artistic skills as a photographer. I learned about photography by myself. Taking pictures every day is still an opportunity to learn more, to push my skills and photography knowledge. I’ve worked as a photographer in West Africa, mostly Ghana, my home country; in France; and since 2020, in Toronto, Canada.
My second passion is travel. I’ve travelled in Europe (France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands, UK), Africa (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sao tomé), Asia (China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan) and North America (US and Canada). I am passionate about capturing landscapes, people and the history of the places I go to.
My third passion is music. I’ve been a music lover since I was young. In Ghana, I had a music production company. Love for both photography and music led me to develop a passion for event photography. Freezing moments, expressions, taking artists’ pictures while performing, is something that I thrive on as an artist.
Another passion is to try as much as possible to transcribe other people’s emotions through photography. This is how I specialized my work in four different areas: Events, Portrait, Lifestyle and Travel. I can’t box myself into one single category.
Taking pictures allows me to express myself, to say out loud what I can’t say with words. For me a picture worth a thousand words. As a photographer, I am in a constant search for that perfect still moment to capture in a frame.
Filmed and Edited by Recro Digital Marketing
Artistic Statement by Murphy Owusu:
Water brings life to thousands of communities around the world in many different ways. Although millions of people lack access to safe drinking water, it is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, energy and food production, in addition to healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself.
Water means life. To some, it also means business. Some communities have to fight for their right to live out of what they have always known. I wish we could live in a world where people, communities and minorities could be respected – respected for their culture, their traditions and not be taken over by politicians or businessmen.
Western culture often forgets about Nature; taking water, food, elements for granted for the “benefit” of digital platforms, virtual world and Metaverse. I believe it is important to show how many indigenous
communities around the world are living in harmony with Nature by understanding and honouring it every single day. Through the pictures, you will witness how communities around the world (Ghana, Ethiopia, São Tomé and Príncipe and Turtle Island) live around water and what it means to them.
Africa and other places in the world are considered by Western culture as “third world countries”. Yet these people who are considered the ‘poorest people’ will give you and offer you all they have because they have nothing to lose. For me, the one who knows how to share is the richest person. I always say there is love in sharing. I dream of a world where we can share instead of invade, occupy, conquer, annex or win. As the Nigerian afrobeat legend and activist Fela Kuti said in his song, “Water No Get Enemy” because “Nothing without Water”.
Photos by Abel Tesfaldet (Photo Exhibition). Murphy Owusu (Artist Photos)