“Art is the physical representation of feeling.”
Possessing wisdom beyond her years, wunderkind Jaylah Hall knew from the age of 12 who she was, and what she wanted to be. Preadolescence isn’t usually a time when most people can boast enough of self-awareness to know that their uniqueness isn’t a handicap; especially when you’re Black.
Gordon Shadrach is a portrait artist, Grade 2 teacher, and public speaker. His work has shown at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to name a few. As a self-taught painter, it’s even more impressive that he’s been selected by OCAD University as a lecturer at its How We Paint series. Prior to that engagement, ByBlacks spoke to the artist about the themes he explores through his art, the challenges of breaking through institutional barriers as an emerging artist at age 53, and what he most hopes to impart in his upcoming talk at the university.
Trayon Baksh, aka Tray Arts’ journey to success was fraught with pitfalls, but what seemed like divine intervention nudged him in the right direction while courage and determination pushed him the rest of the way.
If you’re reading this, you were probably just as shocked as I was to hear that Harlem Underground was closing for good. The place has been known for the soul food and unforgettable Caesars, but it’s also been a hub for black culture in Toronto for the past ten years. It’s one of three restaurants successfully owned and operated by cultural icon, Carl Cassell, over the past 18 years. The decision to close didn’t come easily but, as Carl puts it, he’s “ready for something new.”
Dr. Kenneth Montague is a well known dentist, curator, and respected collector of works by local and International contemporary African artists. He works behind the scenes in Toronto's art world as one of the AGO's Board of Trustees, and as founding director of Wedge Curatorial Projects; a not-for-profit arts organization that supports Black emerging artists.
The York Eglinton neighbourhood of Oakwood isn’t letting the dust of construction dim it’s light. Instead, for its second annual Cityscapes Winter Exhibition, the local BIA has teamed up with the NIA Centre for the arts to re-invigorate many of the empty and abandoned storefronts with vivid art from a select group of Black artists. The theme is “New Perspectives of Home.”
For the last 20 years, photographer and new media artist Wayne Dunkley has been asking people in urban centres to confront negative perceptions and biases around Black identity. His latest project, #whatdoyoufeelwhen, is an interactive work of public art that prompts for honest reactions to thousands of images of his face postered in four major cities across Canada.
It was just a year ago when The Royal Ontario Museum apologized for a racist 1989 exhibition that featured objects collected from Africa by soldiers and missionaries.