In 2008, Alberta photographer Tim Van Horn left his home in Red Deer to embark on a year-long journey to see his home and native land for the very first time.
Nine years later, Horn is still travelling across the country, meeting and photographing everyday Canadians. Over 54,000 portraits have been created randomly within 1250 communities from every province and territory – including Burns Lake – as part of his ‘Canadian mosaic project.’
Horn was back in Burns Lake last week with a motorhome wrapped with over 10,000 photographs. He connected with local residents all day on June 13, passionately talking about his project while offering to take their portraits.
“We have this wonderful country, but we don’t have an image that represents accurately what we are, what we look like,” explained Horn. “This is the most current look at our community and cultural identity.”
Horn says each day of his journey has been a “mix and medley of beautiful moments and adventures” fuelled by the great people he meets. As he travelled, Horn said he has given considerable thought to the fabric and workings of the Canadian psyche and sentiment in order to accurately represent and define visually Canada’s collective identity.
“My mission has been to travel the country, embrace the public, bring us together and say, ‘This is Canada, this is what we look like… look at all the ethnicities; isn’t it amazing? Embrace it, this is your life.'”
“Each portrait of the Canadian mosaic is intended to stir the imagination and curiosity within you, to write our very own narrative to each photograph,” he said. “They ultimately encourage you to journey across Canada, to discover the riddles and rhythms of the open road, writing verses in your very own made in Canada love story of who you are, who we are as people and a nation.”
“We truly are a very special people and country,” he continued. “A country with an indefinable ethnic mosaic steeped in compassion and kindness.”
“Each of us owes it to Canada and one another to reach out to each other to ensure that these good times and our sacred national values remain healthy and prevail,” he added.
Horn says the money raised for the project comes entirely from photography projects he’s done along the way, and donations from the public. To support the project by making a donation, visit www.canadianmosaic.ca.