Cities and the people who live in them are enduring subjects of photography. Winnipeg’s North End is one of North America’s iconic neighbourhoods, a place where the city’s unique character and politics have been forged. First built when Winnipeg was the “Chicago of the North,” the North End is the great Canadian melting pot, where Indigenous peoples and Old World immigrants cross the boundaries of ethnicity, class, and culture. Like New York’s Lower East Side, the North End is also the place that helped to forge Winnipeg’s political identity of resistance and revolt.
Award-winning filmmaker John Paskievich grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, and for the last forty years he has photographed its people and captured its spirit. Paskievich’s films, many made for the National Film Board of Canada, follow the lives of different outsiders, from Slovakian Roma to stutterers.
The North End Revisited brings together many of the photographs from Paskievich’s now-classic book The North End (2007) with eighty additional images to present a deep and poignant picture of a special community. Texts by art critics Stephen Osborne and Alison Gillmor and film scholar George Melnyk explore the different aspects of Paskievich’s work and add context from Winnipeg’s history and culture.
“Paskievich’s art is born of a patience and honesty. Funny, poignant, angry by turns, it brims with rare compassion.”
“Paskievich’s real, unadorned glimpse into the community and its people is striking, but most of the scenes and characters captured here aren’t pretty in the conventional sense. It’s his inclusion of these tarnished details – gritty streets, peeling piont and wrinkled, weary faces – that truly gives the work its unfiltered beauty. Similar to Winnipeg’s North End itself, Paskievish’s new book is a gem that can only be discovered, explored and cherished by a patient and sympathetic eye.”
“Like the films of Guy Maddin and the rock songs of John K. Samson, Paskievich’s photographs capture a world that is both personal and eccentric. His is not the North End as endorsed by the chamber of commerce, but it is nevertheless one marked by dignity and humanity.”
“John Paskievich is a distinguished documentary filmmaker. Some of his work is about people for whom being at home in the world is difficult, impossible or an act of the imagination: Roma in Slovakia, Russians in the Canadian prairies, Inuit artists at home in the North. In The North End, he has performed a similar act of troubled, amused, sympathetic observation, this time with black-and-white photographs, shot over three decades, of people who live and work (or do not work, as the case may be) in Winnipeg’s North End.”
“A worthy update! Paskievich has found the elusive balance between historical documentation and esthetic perfection found in the likes of Robert Frank’s The Americans.”