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This past week I had the delight of hanging a new exhibit at the Fritzi Gallery. We opened a new group exhibit titled Birds of a Feather and are very happy to say this exhibit is part of TD Canada Trust’s Then and Now Series for Black History Month. The exhibition features 10 of our own local artists, showcasing their recent work from 2014.
Birds of a Feather is a common phrase for when those of similar characteristics, struggles, styles or taste congregate in groups. I wanted the chance and to also give artists the chance to celebrate our cultural and social commonalities. Although we may be of different colour, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, we are all “minorities” in one sense or another and we all share a similar umbrella. We all have similar struggles and overcome them in similar ways.
The project started with engaging with the idea and the word "minority”. Artists were asked to answer the following questions: what does the word "minority" mean to you? What does it constitute in 2014/15 and to the larger Canadian collective memory? Is it still or was it ever a relevant label or way to group people in social terms?
We have all come across this word in a social context at some point in our lives and have dealt with the term on a number of different occasions. The implications of the word are especially taboo in North America and we have a tendency to not talk about it, even though we live in one of the more culturally diverse countries in the world. The question still remains: have you ever been "a or the" "minority"?
It was very interesting to see the outcome of these questions through the art works that were created. The works themselves are an analysis of the word and what it means to each individual artist. Photographers Saleena Wedderburn, Marjorie Lubin and Zainab Hussain question this notion with visual ideas of fragmentation, deconstruction and an analysis of one’s self in the broader context of each artist’s life and experiences.
Figure acrylic painters Allan Andre and Komi Olafimihan works succeed at bridging cultural divides and speaks of the immigrant perspective. Artists Kalkidan Assefa, Omar Oms Hopkinson and Hamid Ayoub take their own artistic style to bring us works that seek to create an intuitive connection and bring forth a re-experience through a contemporary eye, attempting to evoke emotion and stimulate conversation.
Mixed media artist Ojo Evelyn Agi uses portraiture as a way to capture the mood of women and the strength and sensitivity hidden within each of us, combating negative representation of black women throughout art history. Flame glass working artist Evelyn Duberry also addresses negative representation of individuals in the media with her beautifully haunting glass mask triptych on racial profiling.
With all of this being said it was an amazing morning to wake up last Friday January 23rd to realize our exhibit made it to the front page of the Metro Newspaper for Ottawa! Hopefully we will continue to spark the interest of the city with this intriguing exhibition and others to come.
Join us, alongside TD Canada Trust and BAND Gallery in celebrating the month of Black History through painting, drawing, prints, sculpture and photography; looking to the experiences, cultures and collaborations that shapes who we are. Exhibition runs until March 8th 2015.