A fireside chat that spotlights artists involved with the Scarborough Made Project.
Scarborough Made launched “Resilience” in 2021 as a multifaceted art project covering documentary storytelling, creative mentorship programming for youth and a public art installation at the Cedarbrae Library branch within the Scarborough Guildwood neighbourhood. We connected with youth artist Nihtursan Elamhulan from last year’s creative mentorship program to share some insights into why he creates and how his work intersects with Scarborough.
SN: Nithursan, tell me about yourself?
NE: Born and raised in Scarborough, I’m an emerging visual storyteller, currently exploring photography as an expressive mode of communication. NE: Growing up around many other second-generation households has helped expose me to the many cultures, art and values that Toronto has to offer. Through my creative work, I continue documenting these various topics, specifically spanning environmental themes and landscapes, community stories and local history.
SN: How do you see the Scarborough community?
NE: I see the Scarborough community as a physical representation of multiculturalism. Despite its massive size of 600,000+ community members, it somehow manages to hold on to various local identities and roots that define many people’s childhood and upbringing. Its unique blend of people, cultures, food, and more is something I haven’t seen any other part of the city capture in the same way.
SN: What about Scarborough Made excites you?
NE: Every project coming out of Scarborough Made introduces me to new stories and people from my hometown. As a creative, it is exciting to learn more about the emerging talent that Scarborough Made supports, as well as their ability to transform location spots into amazing public art installations.
SN: What impact do you hope to make through Scarborough Made?
NE: I hope this project helps others learn more about Scarborough and its residents. Scarborough is home to many people and stories, which others — even those living outside the east end — can find something to relate with. With so many initiatives, events, and organizations in Scarborough — each of them deserves a spotlight which I believe this project helps deliver in an accessible way.
SN: What do you think of when you hear “Resilience” in connection to Scarborough?
NE: People from the east end tend to always find a way to make the most of what they have. Whether it’s enduring long daily commutes, picking up a second job, or pursuing their dreams by any means necessary — finding these stories have become commonplace amongst Scarborough residents. The disadvantages some might focus on about Scarborough also happen to provide situations that highlight the adversity and the resilience of Scarborough.
SN: Tell me about the piece you worked on for the Scarborough Made “Resilience” installation?
NE: My piece will be highlighting Marvin Macaraig. He is a fellow Scarborough resident, community health promoter and Scarborough Cycles coordinator through Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services. Through my story highlighting Marvin Macaraig, I hope to spread the word about his work at Scarborough Cycles, their community hub and introduce more people to their mission around supporting sustainable and active lifestyles.
Located at Lawrence & Orton Park is one of Scarborough Cycles’ locations, where community members have access to bicycles, tools, do-it-yourself repair clinics, workshops, and other available opportunities. Through his work in promoting cycling culture and waste diversion in one of the city’s designated NIAs (Neighbourhood Improvement Areas), Marvin represents the resilience that east-end residents demonstrate in ensuring a better, active, and sustainable future.
SN: Nithu, What are your favourite Scarborough Spots?
NE: Port Union Waterfront Trail, Lola Sally’s, Lucky Chinese Restaurant.
Scarborough Made is a social impact project championing storytelling in Toronto’s East.