Canadian artists of colour you need to know

At Winslow, we are interested in the stories of local Canadian artists and their craft. Toronto has become a hub for artists to exhibit their work, tell their stories, and inspire discussion within our communities.

Currently at the Royal Ontario Museum is the exhibit, Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art until April 22, 2018. This exhibit features the work of nine artists of colour and explores the question: "what is the Black Canadian presence and history in our country?"

Get to know the featured artists below:

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Sandra Brewster

Sandra Brewster is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto. Her work engages many themes that "grapple with notions of identity, representation and memory." Sandra is a recipient of grants from the Toronto, Ontario and Canada art councils and her work has been cited and reviewed in numerous publications.

Photo by: Yannick Anton

Michèle Pearson Clarke

Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born artist who works in photography, film, video and installation. Using archival, performative and process-oriented strategies, her work explores the personal and political possibilities afforded by considering experiences of emotions related to longing and loss. Her work has been exhibited and screened across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

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Chantal Gibson

Chantal Gibson is an artist-educator living in Vancouver. Her work explores power, exploiting colonial mechanisms of oppression—myths, tropes, metaphors—persistent across writings and representations of African Canadian history and the Black Diasporic Experience. Her work "aims to create new spaces — to use historic silences and omissions—to include alternative voices."

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Sylvia D. Hamilton

Sylvia D. Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer and artist raised in Beechville, a community established in Nova Scotia, by free Black Refugees from the War of 1812.  Her body of work—film, writing and installations— focuses on the history, contributions and life experiences of African Canadians. The work stands in opposition to the erasure of Black Canadians from traditional representations of Canada. She draws on archival sources and collective oral stories to create a counter-memory. 

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Bushra Junaid

Junaid is a Toronto-based artist and arts administrator. Born in Montreal to Jamaican and Nigerian parents and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Junaid primarily works in mixed media collage, drawing and painting. She is interested in history, memory, identity and representation; in particular the arts, culture and histories of the African diaspora.

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Charmaine Lurch

Charmaine Lurch connects race, time, and space in her work. She portrays the agency and boundless persistence of racially marked subjects to be and belong in spaces they inhabit. Engaging the audience through story, and with opportunities for participatory action is integral to this work. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Royal Ontario Museum, the art Gallery of Ontario, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, The University of British Columbia, and the National Gallery of Jamaica.

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Esmaa Mohamoud

Mohamoud an African-Canadian artist based in Toronto who investigates the intangibility of Blackness through the realm of athletics—specifically, basketball and football. Mohamoud is interested in the ways in which Black bodies navigate spaces as bodies that are both visible, and invisible at times. With the use of industrial materials, Mohamoud aims to re-examine our contemporary understanding of Blackness and challenge the relationship of blackness as a colour and shade, and Blackness as a societal or cultural construction of a group of people. She has recently shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario, YYZ Artist Outlet, Manifesto Festival, the Gladstone Gallery and Drake Devonshire Gallery.

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Dawit L. Petros

Dawit L. Petros is a visual artist who investigates boundaries in artistic, geographical and cultural contexts. Working with installations, photography, research and extensive travels, his practice centers around a critical rereading of the relationship between African histories and European modernism. By drawing upon forms rooted in diverse histories, Petros' artistic language enables a metaphorically rich articulation of the fluidity of contemporary transnational experiences and attendant issues of place-making, and cultural negotiation.

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Gordon Shadrach

Shadrach was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario and has lived in Toronto for over 25 years. He works in sculpture, fashion, visual display, marketing, industrial design, and painting. Gordon rediscovered his love for painting five years ago and has been exhibiting almost as soon as he started painting. He has participated numerous group exhibitions including the Artist Project Toronto, the Riverdale Art Walk, and the Queen West Art Crawl. 

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