Dionne Brand’s poem, ‘Article 13’, is based on Article 13 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which decrees:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
‘Article 13’ has been painted as a 1, 000 square foot mural in the alley adjacent to Arts Etobicoke on October 19, 2010 at the Arts Etobicoke Gallery at 4893A Dundas St. W. The 2 p.m. showing included, Mayor David Miller, who joined Brand for a walking-reading of the poem, and a colourful African drum and dance procession featuring Roshanak Jaberi, an Iranian-Canadian dancer and choreographer, who specializes in the folkloric and contemporary dances of West Africa.
The Art Alley Mural Project produced by Arts Etobicoke is part of Amnesty International’s Project: Urban Canvas-a celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Art Alley Mural is the twelfth mural developed under Project: Urban Canvas, which plans to produce 30 murals throughout the GTA, each interpreting one of the 30 articles of human rights, to educate Torontonians about these rights that many do not know about or have taken for granted.
Brand, the City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate, spoke of her creativity process, and exclaimed that being asked to write this poem is one of the greatest things to have happened to her. She had looked up the meaning of the word Etobicoke, which is ‘where the alders grow’- a reference in her poem. Having been introduced to Brand’s work with the novel, What We All Long For, an emotional read about multiculturalism in the city of Toronto, I was excited to meet the lady herself. ‘Article 13’ is similarly moving and I shall leave you with the verses:
Inalienable nomads, global citizens unfettered limbs,
we are heartsick for the true world,
compelled to place we search for place,
there in the growth of black wild alders (17-20)
Check out the full version of Brand’s ‘Article 13’ which is reproduced on the Arts Etobicoke website.
Aasana Sri is the Fall 2010 Communications Intern at the Toronto Arts Foundation.