In 2015 & 2016, I did some research and came up with a series of prints to tell several stories about Black women in Canada between 1793 and 2006. I was inspired to do this series almost a decade ago, when I collaborated with No One Is Illegal and other artists in a People's History of KKKanada poster series. My poster back in 2007 focused on how colonialism and gentrification contributed to displacing Black and Indigenous communities within Canada. I thought to myself how it would be great to have a poster series primarily focused on Black history. There are many stories to tell when thinking of Black folks in Canada, but I knew it was imperative for myself to make this series on Black Women.
When reading about Black history in Canada, it is very one dimensional. There is often an obsession with violence and enslavement, or it tends to highlight how Black people 'made it' in a white settler/colonial society with a focus on Black people in sports, the military, the war, government positions or other positions of power. Black women are often underrepresented in these stories.
When thinking of the Great Migration of the South, in The States, we'll find that it didn't end in California, Chicago or NYC. It carried on through to Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and many parts of Ontario.
Many Black women (who had the opportunity and freedom to do so) journeyed farther north into Canada with family or their partners in hopes of better opportunities, yet were met with the same oppression. It was important for me to emphasize how Black women remained committed to their communities. Through collective action and self determination, Black women were able to organize and provide essential services and support where the Canadian Government failed to deliver.
These prints are dear to my heart. I envisioned them to be a union between an educational/ people's history poster and a fine art print. Affordable, but still, something that you can frame. With this Black Women in Canada Print Series, I focused on 7 individuals and/or groups of women. I wanted to connect African Diasporas and portray the parallels of Black struggle in Canada and throughout all of the Americas.
I hope these prints inspire, educate and motivate.
I am now excited to announce that these art prints have been turned into a children's picture book. There are 3 new bios in this book to round it to 10. The book is published by Second Story Press, a feminist publisher in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
You can order books via Second Story, but they are available everywhere from Amazon to Indigo, your local bookstores and libraries also carry them!