There was a formal apology for Into The Heart Of Africa, which sparked protests that resulted in violent clashes between police and demonstrators. The museum vowed to support more events to showcase African culture and the diaspora. Now the ROM has announced a new exhibit dedicated to Black Canadian contemporary art.
The upcoming ROM-original exhibition Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art opens Saturday, January 27, 2018. The exhibition, which features the works of nine artists, explores contemporary art, race and historical identity in Canada.
“Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art is an important exhibition that grapples with current and historical interpretations of Black culture and identity in this country,” says Josh Basseches, the ROM’s Director and CEO. “The work represented in this exhibition not only encourages visitors to re-examine their idea of what Canada is, but offers a broader telling of the Canadian story through the Black Canadian experience.”
The exhibition features original work from Canadian artists Sandra Brewster, Michèle Pearson Clarke Chantal Gibson, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Bushra Junaid, Charmaine Lurch, Esmaa Mohamoud, Dawit L. Petros, and Gordon Shadrach.
This collaborative project was led by curatorial experts Dr. Silvia Forni, ROM Curator of African Arts and Culture; Dr. Julie Crooks, Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO); and independent curator, Dominique Fontaine. Once the curatorial vision for the exhibition was conceived, the curators and artists worked together to establish the overarching themes, and build a conceptual framework and format for the artists to tell their stories.
Joint curatorial statement from Dr. Silvia Forni, Dr. Julie Crooks, and Dominique Fontaine: “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art affirms both the longstanding and current relevance of Blackness to the overall fabric of Canada. Contemporary art offers us a particular vantage point from where to reflect on longstanding issues of race, exclusion and belonging. This exhibition defies a singular narrative; it shifts paradigms, and calls attention to its structure as a field of enquiry that encourages us to unlearn and learn more about history, art history and how we curate contemporary art shows in the Canadian context.”
Additional programming scheduled to complement the exhibition includes:
January 26, 2018 – ROM Connects features insider insights by the exhibition artists.
January 26, 2018 – The ROM hosts Toronto’s most popular destination event Friday Night Live (FNL), with live performances, food vendors, and gallery activations rich with themes related to the exhibition.
February 8, 2018 – ROM Daytime highlights behind the scenes with the exhibition curators.
February 11, 2018 – ROM Connects presents a performance by Dr. Afua Cooper
March 4, 2018 – ROM Connects presents a performance by Jessica Karuhanga
April 10, 2018 - ROM Speaks features a keynote presentation by Toronto-based poet, writer and lawyer, NourbeSe Philip.