Hiraeth Photo Project

Hiraeth will be on display outside of Parkdale Community Health Centre in the parkette area on Sunday May 16th. We welcome socially distanced viewings.

Facilitated by Amy Muli, Community Health Worker, Photography by Maria Vassiliou, Global Shapers


Hiraeth was conceived from a project opportunity that was offered to PQWCHC by the organization, Global shapers. In the infancy of the project, it was envisioned under two separate names that eventually merged into what became Hiraeth. In the beginning, the project was presented as The Human Faces of the Opioid Crisis. The origins of this photo project was conceived out of a need to raise community awareness regarding the devastating impacts of the opiate crisis. Similar to the popular blog; Humans of New York, the objective of this project was to humanize the impacts of the opioid crisis by associating a face with a story. Having this concept as a starting point, it was also important to reflect on all of the catastrophic losses that our community have endured throughout the pandemic. While the toxic drug supply persists, over the past year the community continues to experience waves of unimaginable grief but through that grief, self reflection and love emerged.  Love and reflection became another theme, which brought us to the next title I’ll Be Your Mirror. Taking inspiration from the iconic Velvet Underground,  the band often wrote songs that celebrated their own ordinary members in their community.

“I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home”

We imagine being seen as a reflection, but never to be moralized for what is seen. Once again the project took another shape and it was decided the project would be named Hiraeth, a word that embraces grief but can not be translated into English. Seeming like the right fit because the losses are beyond measure, indescribable and unique to each and every person. The artist statement was written as a collective by the individuals who agreed to take part in this project.