“Inspired by Prudence Heward’s painting The Emigrants, Diaspora is a piece that connects the similarities of the struggles that refugees experience throughout time. In my personal interpretation of this piece, I view this as two women immigrating to a new country for better opportunities. When viewing Heward’s painting, you can see the emotion and sentimentality she manages to capture in their faces. I’ve always admired her ability to paint women with such complexity in their portraits despite the public’s disapproval of her depictions. This is why I wanted to communicate the same message with Ukrainian mothers and women seeking refuge in Canada due to the recent war in their homeland. Especially as mothers, the traumatic complexities of war are far more overwhelming. Both paintings show the struggles women face during times of migration.”
—Chantel Mei (Grade 9, Webber Academy, Calgary, Alberta)
Prudence Heward (1896–1947) was a central figure in the Montreal art world during the inter-war years. Celebrated for her expressionistic use of colour and her unique sculptural forms, Heward’s portraits of defiant modern women are unparalleled.