Whitewash (2016), Nadine Valcin.

Canada / 6:20 / 2016 / sound / colour / English

Part of the Canadian myth is the story of a tolerant, multicultural nation where Africans who were enslaved on American soil followed the Underground Railroad to find freedom and refuge. One key element still missing from the national myth are the enslaved Africans who were here for nearly two centuries in the early days of the colony. Very few people know, and even less are willing to acknowledge, that slavery actually existed in Canada.

Whitewash is a video installation that examines slavery in Canada and its omission from the national narrative. It brings to light some of the slave families that were brought to Prince Edward Island by Loyalists and looks at how nine generations of descendants have assimilated to the point of leaving very few visible traces of their origins.

Whitewash is distributed by the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC). This link is for personal use only, please contact the CFMDC to organize screenings with the full-resolution version of the film. The video was produced as part of the Osgoode Hall Law School Artist in Residence program at York University.




Alphabetically by Title

A Black Curator Is Never Just a Curator by Kelsey Adams. December 17, 2019.

A Pullout Supplement to: A WHITE INSTITUTION'S GUIDE FOR WELCOMING ARTISTS OF COLOR* AND THEIR AUDIENCES (2016-2020) by Fannie Sosa, © 2020 / Eunice Bélidor for Galerie Galerie.

A Reflection on Attending "the State of Blackness: from Production to Presentation" Symposium by Felicia Mings. June 16, 2016.

A Year in Black Art: Concerns about intimacy, world-making, security and survival are necessary to considerations of work by Black artists by Yaniya Lee. December 25, 2018.

“All That Is Canadian”: Identity and Belonging in the Video and Performance Artwork of Camille Turner by Sheila Petty, in Desire/Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada. June 2017. 

An oral history of the Black Film and Video Network by Amanda Parris. May 8, 2020.

As If by Ramon Amaro. February 14, 2019.

BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom by Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi. June 2019.

#BlackLivesCDNSyllabus Uncovers A Vital Archive by Merray Gerges. July 14, 2016. 

"BlackVoice; Context and Subtext," in Measures of Astonishment-Poets on Poetry by Lillian Allen. March 2016. 

Building a oral history archive of Black voices in Canada by Jessica Karuhanga. February 23, 2021.

Contested representations: revisiting Into the heart of Africa by Shelley Ruth Butler. September 2007.

Covidian Catastrophes by M. NourbeSe Philip. April 9, 2020.

Curating, Criticism and Care, or, “Showing Up” as Praxis by Joana Joachim. Spring 2020.

Cruising the Museum: Animating Queer Sexual Geographies & Histories by Christopher Smith. July 2019.

De-Celebrating Black Expressive Culture: A Polemic by Rinaldo Walcott. 1999.

Dramatic Instabilities: Diasporic Aesthetics by Rinaldo Walcott. Spring 2004.

Excesses and Refusals an introduction to the Canadian Art issue "Chroma" (Fall 2020) co-edited by Yaniya Lee and Denise Ryner.

“Exploring Video Performance as a Healing Site,” by Geneviève Wallen in Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada edited by Deanna Bowen. 2019. 

How Canada Forgot Its Black Artists by Yaniya Lee. August 31, 2016.

Heather Goodchild and Jérôme Havre: Fictions and Legends at the Textile Museum of Canada Review by Murray Whyte, The Toronto Star. December 14, 2013. 

In the Presence of Absence: Invisibility, Black Canadian History, and Melinda Mollineaux’s Pinhole Photography by Andrea Fatona. 2006.

Indigenous Land as Common Ground: Understanding Decolonization through Unsettled Landscapes by Ellyn Walker. Winter 2015.

“Introduction” Edited by Charmaine Nelson, in Towards an African Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance. 2018.

Land Marks Curatorial Essay by Andrea Fatona. 2014.

Land Marks: Mary Anne Barkhouse, Wendy Coburn, Brendan Fernandes, Susan Gold and Jérôme Harve, by Andrea Fatona, Caoimhe Morgan-Feir, Katherine Dennis, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Wendy Coburn, Brendan Fernandes, Susan Gold, Jérôme Havre, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Art Gallery of Windsor, and Thames Art Gallery. 2013.

Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death by Jordan Brown. May 7, 2020.

Making an Entrance by Alice Ming Wai Jim. April 6, 2020.

Presumed incompetent: The intersections of race and class for women in academia Review by Camille A. Isaacs. October 2013.

Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora, and Black Studies by Rinaldo Walcott. November 2016.  

Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora Catalogue PDF by Deanna Bowen, Christopher Cozier, Michael Fernandes, Maud Sulter. 2006.

Scholar Strike Canada, September 2, 2020

Settling in Place: An Interview with Guest Curator Andrea Fatona. 2018. 

Speaking Ourselves Into Being by Andrea Fatona and Liz Ikiriko. Winter 2020.

Stories from The Little Black School House by Sylvia Hamilton, In Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation Through The Lens of Cultural Diversity. Edited by Ashok Mathur, Jonathan Dewar and Mike DeGagne. 2011.

Sylvia D. Hamilton: Mining Memory Exhibit Review by Ellyn Walker. 2015. 

The Awakening on Fresh Art International. January 27, 2021. 

The End of Diversity by Rinaldo Walcott. May 1, 2019.

The Women Running the Show by Yaniya Lee. October 2, 2017.

Towards Black Individuation and a Calculus of Variations by Ramon Amaro and Murad Khan. May 2020.

Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada Edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, and Syrus Marcus Ware. February 2020.

Variations in Black Queer Worlds by Christina Sharpe. August 20, 2019.

We Will Win: Black Lives Matter – Toronto by Sandy Hudson and Yusra Khogali, in Race and Racialization, Second Ed., Tania Das Gupta, Carl E. James, Chris Andersen, Grace-Edward Galabuzi & Roger C.A. Maaka (eds.). February 2018.

"Where Outreach Meets Outrage": Racial Equity at The Canada Council for the Arts (1989 -- 1999) Doctoral Dissertation by Andrea Fatona. 2011.

Who do you talk to, when a body's in trouble?: M. Nourbese Philip's (un)silencing of black bodies in the diaspora by Katherine McKittrick. November 5, 2010.

“What’s Art Good For: Critical Diversity, Social Justice and Future of Art & Culture in Canada,” a speech to the Canadian Public Arts Funders (CPAF) Executive Directors, Edmonton, by Rinaldo Walcott. June 2011.

What Does It Mean to Be Black and Look at This? A Scholar Reflects on the Dana Schutz Controversy by Siddartha Mitter. March 24, 2017.

Why you need to know about Billy Beal, the great unsung Black photographer of early 1900s Manitoba by Alyssa Fearon. August 20, 2020.


Panel Discussions & Speakers YouTube Playlist 

Proceedings from the Conference (PDF Link)


New Point of View at The Venice Art Biennale by Cathy Byrd of Fresh Art International.

Questioning Citizenship at the Venice Biennale: Responses and Interventions by Adrian Blackwell, Elle Flanders, Justin A. Langlois, Tamira Sawatsky, Amanda Shore, Leah Snyder, and Rinaldo Walcott.


Dr. Andrea Fatona is Documenting Black Art in Canada With The State of Blackness Project by Byron Armstrong - ByBlacks. April 28, 2021.

The Importance of Black Canadian Art - CTV News. Spring 2021.

The National Gallery of Canada has The State of Blackness listed as on their Research Publications and Resources page under "Databases and Indexes".


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This site is dedicated to Ayanna Black (1939-2009).

Ayanna Black was a fierce defender of Black Canadian culture and its production and dissemination. She believed we as Black Canadians have stories to tell about ourselves and relentlessly created spaces in which we could celebrate our joys. Black was a co-founder of Canadian Black Artists in Action (CAN BAIA).

All material that appears on this website is used for the purposes of academic research and critical study. If you have any questions or concerns about the resources on this site, please contact us.

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