Finding My Conviction (Canadian artist refuses to attend her show in USA)

I light of current political events in the USA that are deeply affecting the entire world, I have the following statement regarding my upcoming show in the USA.

From my artist statement…
My work is full of visual puns, double entendre, symbolism and satire. It references the dichotomy of my early life expectations to conform to a traditional woman’s role, when in fact, reality for me, was the need to be self-sufficient and support myself as an entrepreneur and business owner. These contradictions allow me to expose my private self through veiled metaphor creating objects significant beyond function. The underlying message – the essence of my work – speaks to the roles and rights of girls and women.

Keeper of the Faith, Encaustic, copper pot scrubber, glass vials, book pages & string, 23″h x 4.25″w x 5″d

My work has meaning. It’s about choice. It’s about girls, and boys too, but mostly girls, who, due to tradition or religion, don’t get to choose. They are married off as soon as they hit puberty and often left to fend for themselves and their children because of war, strife or circumstance.

Gender inequality exists. It exists in Canada, the USA, throughout the western world, but is most prevalent in developing nations. I want to bring awareness to the importance of education and the role it has in shaping future generations. If girls are educated and given choices, they can influence the world.


I’d like to share a few stats with you. Plan Canada and its subsidiary Because I am a Girl states that…

1. For every extra year a girl stays in school, her income can increase by 10 to 20%
2. A girl in the developing world receiving 7 years of education marries 4 years later on average and has fewer, yet healthier, children
3. If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths

Knowledge is power and knowledge is empowering. There’s choice. When there is no alternative there is no choice.


Why am I telling you all this? Because I am part of a 2 person show opening at Frederick Holmes in Seattle on March 3. It means I get to take my white privilege and cross the border into the United States from Canada. I have a Canadian passport, so I should be able to travel unhindered.

EXCEPT, how in good conscious can I travel unhindered when the rights the very people my work speaks to are being detained and turned back?

An incident on Feb 4 had a Canadian woman turned away from U.S. border after questions about religion. She was turned back because she’s muslim. We were told that if you had a Canadian passport there would be no problem crossing the border. They forgot to say you also had to be white, and show no outward signs of your ethnicity.

I could go to the opening and speak about education for girls to a handful of people who already know how important it is. Or I can take this stand and just say NO, it’s not right.

I know, little ol’ me, who is going to notice. Simple. I am going to notice and it is me that I have to live with.

I am very grateful for the support from Frederick Holmes on my boycott of my own show. He works tirelessly for his artists and will be my standin.

Here is Fred’s statement:

 “As her gallery dealer the last few years, and one who has come to know Kim Bruce’s passionate dedication to the mission of her work – as well as an American citizen concerned about the marginalization of people by gender, faith, or race – I support her decision absolutely and without reservation. Her presence at the opening will be missed but her work will speak for her.” – Frederick R. Holmes

As individuals, as artists, as Canadians, as citizens of the world, we must find our conviction.

My conviction says NO, we must stand united.

Further reading:
22 refugees entered Manitoba near Emerson border over the weekend

5th Canadian reports being denied entry to U.S. after questions about Moroccan roots, Muslim faith

Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers

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