My image as Miss Canadiana points to the contradiction of the Canadian mythology. My body, as a representative of Canadian heritage, is surprising only because Blackness is perceived as foreign in Canada.
Miss Canadiana is a persona created and performed by Camille Turner since 2002. She has made appearances across Canada and has represented Canada in the UK, Germany, Senegal, Australia, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. Documentation of the performances have been included in numerous exhibitions and festivals.
Hometown Queen, pictured above is a series of staged photographs of Miss Canadiana returning to Hamilton, Ontario, Camille’s hometown.
“I created the Hometown Queen series to re-write my personal history and to pay homage to my complicated relationship with Hamilton, my hometown. The Hamilton I grew up in was a proud, hard-working steel town with a no-nonsense attitude. On the one hand I admire this city’s fierce resistance to the influence of nearby sprawling full-of-itself Toronto. On the other hand, growing up there I witnessed and experienced many incidents of blatant bigotry. I couldn’t wait to get away from Hamilton when I was young but now I realize that this complex city made me the person I am today—always looking beneath the surface and recognizing the irony in everything around me.”
There have been many wonderful responses to this work including Sherisse Mohammed’s 2005 video “Miss Canadiana”
“Please keep up your good work . . . We A L L need a good teacher, and you have become one of mine.”
Keith from Saskatchewan