THE STATE OF BLACKNESS: FROM
PRODUCTION TO PRESENTATION
Sandra Brewster, Blur 2, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 2/3, 30xx22 in, 2016-17 (left)
Sandra Brewster, Blur 18, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 40x35 in., 2017 (right)
It’s all a blur… is a series of gestural portraits made with photo-based gel transfers. Brewster uses the medium as a metaphor for movement or change from one place to another, specifically in reference to the migration of her parents and their peers who left Guyana for Toronto in the late 1960s. Inspired by the preciousness of old photographs and their relationship to time and memory, the series mimics and somewhat exaggerates the physicality of those photographs by revealing the imperfections left by creases, tears, and folds.
The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation website serves as an archive of the activities of a conference of the same name that took place in 2014. The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation was a two-day, interdisciplinary conference event held at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and Harbourfront Centre for the Arts, Toronto, Canada. It brought together forty-two (42) artists, curators, academics, students, and multiple public participants to engage in dialogue and, in effect, problematize the histories, current situation, and future state of black diasporic artistic practice and representation in Canada. The site also serves as a repository for information about ongoing research geared toward making visible the artistic production and dissemination of works by Black Canadian cultural producers.
Andrea Fatona is an independent curator and an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. She is concerned with issues of equity within the sphere of the arts and the pedagogical possibilities of art works produced by Black Canadians in articulating broader perspectives of Canadian identities. Her broader interest is in the ways in which art, ‘culture’ and ‘education’ can be employed to illuminate complex issues that pertain to social justice, citizenship, belonging, and nationhood. She is the recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and was the 2017/18 OCAD U-Massey Fellow. Fatona has published scholarly articles, catalogue essays, and book chapters in a range of publications.
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).
February 21-22, 2014
The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation conference consisted of both closed working sessions and public events. It opened with one and a half days of closed working meetings designed to provide opportunities for artists, educators, curators, scholars, and cultural workers to engage in intensive and critical collaborative discussions about the current state of blackness and the challenges and strategies employed to increase visibility. There was an emphasis on developing networks of engagement and knowledge exchange while developing methodologies and practices that advise the future of black Canadian artistic production and teaching.
Saturday afternoon and evening were free of charge and open to the public. These sessions consisted of a keynote lecture, panel presentations, and a closing address.
The record and documentation of The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation can be found on the conference page.
Links to articles, materials, and videos derived from The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation conference can be found on the resources page.
The YouTube channel highlights the work of many of the cultural producers who presented at the conference.