Where is the kingdom of childhood? The infinite endless place, suspended in time? The place that still lives on in our memories, long after we’ve outgrown our little clothes, and left our playthings behind? We asked members of the Maria A. Shchuka Library Community to take us back there, to show us where they played.
They took us back to childhoods spent in apartments, on islands, by rivers and lakes, and among groves of fruit trees. Childhoods spent in Guyana, in Eritrea, in Kurdistan, in rural Nova Scotia, and here in Toronto. We heard about freedom: the freedom to roam; to dance and build and play; the freedom to dream and to be with friends; the freedom to create and to connect. As people told us these stories, they could feel that freedom again and so could we.
These memories were gathered at the Maria A. Shchuka Library, and at two nearby retirement residences, Lotherton and St. Hilda’s. All the artwork was created at the library to illustrate this collection of memories. The community at Maria A. Shchuka is robust, and a large group of children and adults contributed to the making of this audio-visual portrait. The prints and collages here were truly a collective effort.
Stories shared by: Alma, Carol, Cherel, Cherrel, Chro, Dashim, Diana, John, Juan, Leonie, Lita, Miguel Angel, Moussa, Pamela, Reynaldo, Rhoda, Sisto, Vivienne.
Story interludes, shared by: Bruno, Cherrel; Diana, Josie, Julie, Leonie, Margaret, Pamela, Raymond, Vincent, Vivienne.
Artwork by: Ahmad Saidullah, Barbara Geiger, Charna Gordon, Daniela Meli, Homa Monfared, Julie Giulietta Victoria Montagna, Laura Faberman, Magali Meagher, Sherel Purcell, Stephanie Walton, Susan Wethera, Valerie Mah, , Yukie Shimozawa.
The Maria A. Shchuka Kid Crew: Abby, Amber, Angel, Breanna, Cate, Ceejae, Cindal, Clarence, Chloe C., Chloe S., Diana, Franchesca, Hanna, Jace, Jada, Jesse, Jewel, Joshua, Karissa, Kyla, Miguela, Mila, Mira, Olinda, Reya, Sophia.
Art Direction and Instruction by: Leah Gold
Interviews conducted and edited + interludes composed by: April Aliermo
Mixing and mastering of recordings by: Daniel Lee
Special thanks to Amanda and James, and all the staff at Maria A. Shchuka Library
This project was generously funded by The Toronto Arts Council.