Seeking New West’s superheroes
Nadine Nakagawa is unmasking New Westminster’s superheroes.
But she’s no Lex Luthor.
Nakagawa is the mastermind behind the Everyone Is a Superhero project, a blog that asks everyday people she encounters in her daily life in New West what unique quality they may have that makes them a superhero.
Her subjects then write their answer on a whiteboard and pose for a photo. Wearing a superhero cape.
Nakagawa started her superhero quest as a project for her Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University in Victoria. But it’s turned into a portrait of community.
“People in New West are very community focused,” said Nakagawa, who’s profiled 17 superheroes so far. “New West really has its own vibe.”
When Nakagawa set out to discover how people perform the identity they have of themselves, she decided superheroes were the perfect metaphor.
“I wanted to know what makes people fantastic,” said Nakagawa. “It’s fun and superheroes are trendy.”
She sewed three capes and then started approaching people like community volunteers, neighbours, politicians and even her mom, who was the first superhero in her project.
Most are shy at first to boast much about their superhero attributes, said Nakagawa. But as soon as she produces her superhero kit, containing the three capes, a mask or two, and the white board, their reluctance turns to smiles.
“They feel it’s a positive act,” said Nakagawa of her growing stable of city superheroes. “They feel proud.”
And while Nakagawa hopes she’ll ultimately get a good grade for her project, she hopes the community will take something from it as well.
“I hope it encourages people,” said Nakagawa. “It doesn’t take much to become a superhero.”
• To meet some of New West’s superheroes, go to www.everyoneisasuperhero.wordpress.com.