On my mind…

Bringing an end to FGM 

Aug. 29, 2016:
Last week, I wrote a piece for The Independent about a London-based artist’s fight to bring an end to female genital mutilation, or FGM for short.

Aida Silvestri’s work was beyond moving. As a survivor of FGM herself, the Eritrean-born artist turned to photography and sculpture to cope with her own experience and shine a light on how the practice is still widespread today.


Unsterile Clinic tells the stories of a number of women living in London who have survived FGM. And what’s truly exceptional about this project is that Silvestri’s work is now being used in clinics across the NHS to help diagnose women with what type of FGM they have had performed on them.

You can read the story here and check out Aida’s exhibit at Rivington Place in the Autograph APB Gallery until September 17.

Across the pond

Aug. 28,2016:
After more than two incredible years of working at the CBC in my hometown, Toronto, I recently decided to take a leap across the pond, to the UK.

London has always felt like a second home to me. It’s where my father grew up and where I, later in life, have returned to again and again after falling in love with the city in my own youth (yes, I know dad, I’m still more or less ‘in my own youth’).

No, this is not how I got from Toronto to London. But I did pay to ride the Clipper down the Thames just for fun. And yes, I know how terribly touristy that all sounds.

Samuel Johnson once wrote, “if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” Well… those weren’t exactly the words he used. What he actually said was, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” but that bit of prose was written in 1791, so I’m sure Mr Johnson would forgive me for amending his words.

Either way, the saying holds truth. Of course, many people forget the rest of Johnson’s famous quote, which went something like: “for there is in London all that life can afford”. ‘Afford’ certainly is the key word in that saying, as the true luxuries of life in London are far from attainable for all.

Still, even in a post-Brexit world, London is just as I remember it: a buzzing hive as full of action as it is of history and modernity all at once. People move for “love” all the time, crossing borders to be with whoever it is they’ve chosen as partners in crime. I’m also moving for love, but for love of a city. Toronto and Canada as a whole, will always be home of course. But I see many parallels between the two cities – two of the most multicultural and lively cities in the world. And a citizen of both countries, I feel lucky to call both havens my home.

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See? It’s not all doom and gloom in London. Here’s Hyde Park’s Italian Gardens on an uncharacteristically warm sunny day