Building Community Through a Colourful Practice of Collective Compassion



For this exhibition, participants (students, staff, and extended Central community) will create an original artistic piece, such as an illustration, photograph, painting, or musical composition, that reflects how we build community through acts of compassion.

Coretta Scott King, author, activist, civil rights leader and wife of Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” 

Driving Question:  

What roles can individuals play in building relationships that help foster and enrich our sense of community?

Inspired by the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’, this year’s This is Us exhibition will focus on the essence of community. The word ubuntu comes from the Zulu and Xhosa languages of Africa and can be roughly translated as “humanity towards others.”  According to the philosophy of Ubuntu, community is defined as a colourful practice of collective compassion – in effect, that one’s identity as a human depends on a community.

According to philosopher Martin H. Prozesky, the ten qualities of Ubuntu include, but are not limited to:

  • Humaneness
  • Gentleness
  • Hospitality
  • Empathy
  • Deep Kindness
  • Friendliness
  • Generosity
  • Vulnerability
  • Toughness
  • Compassion

Eric K. Yamamoto, a professor of Law and Social Justice, describes the philosophy of ubuntu as ‘…the idea that no one can be healthy when the community is sick. Ubuntu says I am human only because you are human. If I undermine your humanity, I dehumanize myself.’

In his essay, Radical Generosity, Paul Van Slambrouck speaks to how people are profoundly transformed through selfless acts of compassion and generosity.


Mangena, Fainos. “Hunhu/Ubuntu in the Traditional Thought of Southern Africa”. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (University of Zimbabwe).

Vaughan-Lee, Emmanuel. “Ubuntu” Global Oneness Project.

Van Slambrouck, Paul. “Radical Generosity”. Global Oneness Project

“The Wisdom of Geese (motivational). Youtube.  – Disclaimer: This video has  several spelling errors, however, the lessons brought forward tie nicely into the theme of this year’s exhibition.