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Camille Turner: Miss Canadiana (Red, White and Beautiful)
This item is the residue of Camille Turnerís performance as a beauty queen in MSVU Art Gallery as part of the exhibition Racing the cultural Interface: African Diasporic Identities in the Digital Age (2005). Turnerís glamorous persona, the beauty queen Miss Canadiana, works to challenge assumptions about Canadian identity and normative beauty.
Born in Jamaica, Turner immigrated to Canada as a child. Turner feels that her cultural identity has been defined by Canadaís often-lauded multiculturalism as a fetishized display of diversity rather than as an integral part of the fabric of Canadian culture. Turner says, no matter how long I live in Canada, no matter that Iíve lived here most of my life, when will I ever be Canadian? The feeling of otherness is so common.
Begun in 2002 on Canada Day in Ottawa, the Miss Canadiana project is an attempt to assert her Canadian identity, questioning the inclusiveness Canadaís multiculturalism. Complete with limousines, photo opportunities, public appearances and a website, Miss Canadiana has since travelled to cities in Europe, North America and Africa.
Camille Turner is a Toronto-based media/performance artist and cultural producer.