Painting Komagata Maru / by Gloria Ho

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While studying photographs documenting the Komagata Maru incident, I noticed a remarkable spatial and emotional distance between the photographers and the subjects. The photographs represent those onboard the steamship as pieces of a major event rather than as human beings with personal experiences.

My collection of portraits is intended to honour the Komagata Maru incident from the perspective of the individuals arriving to Canada rather than from the perspective of those who rejected them.

I painted small portraits in hopes that viewers would feel encouraged to physically take a step closer to the subjects to see more detail, unlike the photographers who hesitated or chose not to approach them. By looking at the paintings closer, viewers can appreciate the men and women as individuals, interact with them on a personal level, and form an emotional connection to this important piece of Canadian history. 

Gloria Ho is a freelance illustrator based in Edmonton, Alberta. She graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Design. Check out her work at