At the heart of the passages in irregular border

News 24 March, 2018
  • Photo courtesy Michel Huneault
    In order not to recognize the asylum seekers to be photographed, their silhouettes were covered with cloth.

    Catherine Montambeault

    Saturday, 24 march, 2018 01:00

    Saturday, 24 march, 2018 01:00

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    Live the anguish and confusion that have experienced 32 asylum-seekers on their arrival in Canada by the rang Roxham. This is what offers an immersive experience soon presented in Montreal and on the internet.

    “Once one has experienced a few of these intense moments, I think it can only change our commitment to the issue, and how we see them. It allows you to project and imagine the place of these people, ” says photographer Michel Huneault.

    Separating the towns of Champlain, in the United States, and Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, rang Roxham is the entry point of irregular the most borrowed by the asylum claimants who wish to seek refuge on canadian soil. Last year, a record number of 20 000 people have been intercepted.

    Between February and August of last year, Michel Huneault has made several times on this small country road. He was documented in pictures and sounds the attempted passage of more than 180 migrants from Haiti, Syria, Nigeria, Burundi, and a dozen other countries.

    As if we were there

    The photographer was then selected 32 of these stories, which he recounts in the narrative, documentary, immersive Roxham, presented on Tuesday at the Phi Centre in Montreal. Produced by the national film Board of Canada (NFB), the implementation of virtual reality is also accessible online today.

    Divided into seven chapters, the experience transports us directly on the rang Roxham : we hear the door of the taxi to the border of the State of New York, not in the snow, the creaking of branches, the exchanges between asylum seekers and the border agents, the hesitations, changes of tone, the reading of the rights.

    Photo courtesy Michel Huneault

    Michel Huneault, photographer

    In order to preserve the anonymity of the migrants, Michel Huneault has cut out the silhouettes photographed in 2015 for the migration crisis in Europe and it was replaced by textile materials.


    “What I had touched down there, it is that when people were crossing the border, citizens were going to give them sleeping bags, clean clothes, blankets,” he says. I had a lot of photos of these textures, and I thought it went well with this project, given that these are two phenomena that come together. “

    Visual artist hopes that his work will allow the public to consider the reality of migrants with more empathy.

    The narrative documentary Roxham will be part of the exhibition Particles of existence, which will be held at the Phi Centre in Montreal from 27 march to 12 August. You can also discover online on