A new exhibit enjoying its world premiere at the Grand Coteau Heritage & Cultural Centre (GCHCC) gallery this month, offers some incredibly striking images while also offering some insight into what it means to embrace cultural similarities and differences.
The exhibit, Exploring CQ: A Journey Through the 10 Cultural Clusters, opened to the public at the art gallery on October 1, as the showcase event of the Grand Coteau Centre's Culture Days celebration.
Created by Cultural Intelligence Facilitator Wilbur Sargunaraj, the exhibit explores cultural intelligence (CQ) and sets up interesting questions for viewers to answer on their own. (Cultural Intelligence, or CQ, is an academically recognized way of assessing and improving effectiveness in culturally diverse situations.)
Based on the work of the GLOBE leadership study and the Cultural Intelligence Center, Exploring CQ is a virtual journey designed to help people increase their CQ by learning about the 10 cultural clusters and 10 cultural values. The exhibit introduces people to Cultural Intelligence with the goal of inspiring them to build bridges across cultural differences.
The exhibit features photographs taken by Sargunaraj during his journeys to different countries within the cultural clusters. The photos are paired with information panels explaining CQ, the four CQ capabilities, the 10 cultural clusters, and the 10 cultural values.
“The photographs were taken over the course of almost a decade as I was looking to do more research on the 10 cultural clusters and the 10 cultural values, for my upcoming book and CQ video series,” said Sargunaraj.
With the photos and accompanying information, Exploring CQ is meant to be more than just a display of art. It provides viewers with an opportunity for self reflection and a chance to examine what CQ is all about and how it relates to each individual.
Sargunaraj hopes that people go through the exhibit multiple times and notice different things each visit.
“I really hope people keep coming back because there's so much information," he stated. "So, maybe they can do one pass through to just enjoy the pictures and then maybe they can do another pass, taking a closer look to get a better understanding about CQ by reading the information panels.”
Sargunaraj explained that he wants visitors to look within themselves and assess their own CQ. After passing through the exhibit he hopes that people will start to think about ways they might be able to improve their cultural intelligence.
“We're so polarized right now, with different groups and different factions, whether that's political parties or something else," he said. "How do we come to a place where we can start engaging with others. How do we engage with our friends so we can all live together in this space?”
“And even though it's not cultural in that sense, there is something to be said of 'fear of the other,'" he added. "People saying ‘I don't want to engage with you because you think different than I do’. But hey, that's exactly why we need CQ so we can find ways to dialogue together and coexist in harmony. That's what we're talking about.”
Director Joanne Gregoire said the GCHCC is honoured to have partnered with Sargunaraj through this exhibit and invites everyone to visit the gallery and consider the message that is being presented.
“The message in the exhibition fits so well with this year’s Culture Days theme of RE:IMAGINE," she said "It's like reimagining our world post-pandemic. I just feel like CQ plays into that because it's about building bridges and repairing relationships.”
The Exhibit is at the GCHCC until Oct. 29. There will be a special event for the community including a ‘meet and greet’ with an in person keynote from Wilbur on the 22 of October at 6pm at the Gallery. It will also be livestreamed on various platforms.
For more information about WIlbur visit www.wilbur.asia or track with him @wilburworldwide.
Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shaunavon Standard