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Jasbaa: The Art of Rohingya Refugee Resistance Exhibit Launch at the BSIA

October 18, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Join us on October 18th at 4pm EDT for the official launch of the Jasbaa Exhibit at the BSIA. The launch will feature a poetry reading by the exhibit curator, Mayyu Ali, and a screening of a 28-minute documentary film, Rohingya: The Resistance, featuring the stories of four Rohingya refugees who are resisting against their oppressors in the refugee camps, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

About the exhibit

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar. The United Nations has described the Rohingya as “the world’s most persecuted minority”. For decades, successive governments of Myanmar have committed grave human rights violations and atrocity crimes against this community. Canada has recognised that these crimes against the Rohingya constitute genocide.

However, the Rohingya story is not simply one of victimhood. Even in the face of adversity in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, members of the community produce art and express creativity as a form of resistance against their oppressors.

Jasbaa – meaning passion in Rohingya – is at the heart of this exhibit. Artists by nature are passionate, and the Rohingya people are passionate about maintaining their traditions, language, and song under the harshest of conditions.

Showcasing paintings (roñgor akaa), photography (sóbí), poetry (sher/kabitha), and embroidery (hátór fúl túla) produced by Rohingya community members living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Canada, Jasbaa is a celebration of Rohingya resilience, dignity, and self-expression.

The Jasbaa exhibit and events program were developed by Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali as part of his graduate internship. The Art Garden Rohingya offered consultation about the art selection and helped connect individual artists with this project.

The exhibit was hosted by the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum September 23-29, 2023 before moving to the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The BSIA will host the exhibit October 2 – November 25, 2023.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and the Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo.

White silouette of two adults and one child, white barbed wire and the title of the exhibit on a black background.


October 18, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


BSIA Lobby
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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