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Expressions in Excellence: Voices from Black Artists Speaker Series

February 1, 2024February 29, 2024

Join us for the entire month of February for the speaker series Expressions in Excellence: Voices from Black Artists. This speaker series takes place every Thursday evening at 6:30 in February, and will shine a spotlight on the immense talent and cultural richness of Black artists in our community. This series serves not only as a platform for artistic expression but also as a catalyst for dialogue, understanding, and unity.

The series provides a unique opportunity to amplify the voices of Black artists who have historically been marginalized in the art world. It offers a platform for their stories, experiences, and artistic perspectives to be heard and appreciated.

The series was organized in consultation and with support from DiasporArt Consultancy.

Speaker Schedule:

February 1, 6:30 PM, Darlene Merinda Strong: RETROSPECTIVE 2024

Description: Retrospective 2024 offers a look at the life and times of artist Dr. Darlene M Strong PhD and celebrates the lifework and journey of Strong who is an African Nova Scotian ArtSmarts artist, widely respected in the art and cultural circles. Showcasing artwork, prints, promo cards and publications along with ephemera, documents and media coverage, this presentation provides unmistakable insight into her work.

Bio: Strong hails from rural Nova Scotia, born in 1954, during the post war era and a time of cultural, economic, political and social rebuilding.

In 1999 Strong recognized the void of black art in the community and upon accessing windows of opportunity forged ahead and assisted 21 black artisans to integrate into the public forum and advance African Canadian art successfully to this present day. Sharing black history with integrity and commitment propelled art into a global forum.

Inspired or spontaneous; art and the artist are inseparable. The art speaks, evoking critical thought and stimulating meaningful dialogue. Strong’s art has a very distinct voice and the subject matter is sometimes poignant yet engaging; respectfully challenging colonial values and interests while illuminating vibrant African Nova Scotia communities. 

February 8, 6:30 PM, Thandiwe McCarthy: Journey to Still Here

Description: As a spoken word poet my search for the correct words to tell my story and find my definition of Blackness has lead me on the adventure of a life time. This talk will hit some of the highlights of my past years an show how wild a life can get when you start looking for its meaning.

Bio: Thandiwe McCarthy is a passionate and dedicated member of the Black New Brunswick community, recently recognized as one of CBC's 20 Black Changemakers in Atlantic Canada. As a 7th generation African Canadian, Thandiwe combines his passion for social justice with his artistic talents as a writer, spoken word poet, and community advocate. Through his writing and activism, He has published essays in The Maritime EDIT Magazine, Africanthology, and helped republish the history book, "The Blacks of New Brunswick." Thandiwe's work has been recognized and honored by the Premier of New Brunswick for his efforts in advocating for the recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day. He is the co-founder of the New Brunswick Black Artists Alliance, and organizer for the New Brunswick Emancipation Celebration event. Thandiwe is dedicated to promoting love, respect, and wellness for all, and his memoir, "Social Oblivion: Raised Black in Canada" is now available.

February 15, 6:30 PM, Rotchild Choisy: Artiste en résidence

Description: This presentation discusses my artistic journey from 2016 to 2023 and the various projects I have mounted based on my interests in figuration, gesture, neo-expressionism and automatic techniques; my approach to memory and genre scenes through archival images and image banks. I hope to highlight the themes and conceptual models that run through my work in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and media art.

Bio: Rotchild Choisy is an emerging multidisciplinary artist who holds a Baccalauréat en arts visuels (2022) from the Université de Moncton. Between April and June 2022, he presented his work in a series of solo exhibitions at the Alliance Française cultural salon, Galerie d'art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen and Galerie Sans Nom's Salle Sans Sous, all in Moncton. He has also been awarded several leadership scholarships, as well as the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation Merit Scholarship in 2020. He recently presented his work in a solo exhibition at the Capitol Theatre Art Gallery entitled E.S.M.I, in the 7th edition of the Sudbury Alternative Art Fair and in a group installation at Académie Sainte-Famille as part of Dialogues Riopelle, celebrating the artist's 100th birthday.

February 22, 6:30 PM, Gary Weekes: From There to Here

Description: With a photographic life, lived in London UK, New York City USA, and now Fredericton--through this engaging talk--Gary reveals his journey to becoming the first Black New Brunswick artist to have a solo show at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Originating from a Commercial Photography background, Gary’s movement into the world of Fine Art allows the public to witness his unique perspective on his; Fine Art Photography, his stories, influences, and challenges with entertaining dialogue. We’ll even get to see his 2023 ArtsNB Funded Short Documentary Film “Pugilist Pride: The Story of Faryad Azizi” as Gary moves into the world of filmmaking.

As one of the “self-taught”; Gary is intensely driven, revealing his steadfast determination to succeed as Fine Art Photographer in a very “painterly” art world.

Bio: Gary Weekes’ Fine Art Photography Exhibitions celebrate his Black identity in Canada, his upbringing in the UK, the ten years spent in the USA and his constantly changing role as a father to three amazing young women. He stands proudly as a creative individual who does not follow the stereotypical boundaries placed on Black artists. His art reflects himself; his likes, dislikes, loves, hates, and his ability (or inability) to initiate dialogue. In 2022, Gary became the first Black NB Artist to have a solo show at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, subsequently having one of his works purchased, becoming part of their Permanent Collection. In 2023 Gary received The CBC Black Changemaker Award for his community work. Gary is now moving into Short Documentary Filmmaking with Cinematography/Directorial Credits added to his increasing list of accomplishments. Gary is represented by Gallery on Queen.

February 29, 6:30 PM, Aleya Michaud: Permission to Play

Description: Join Aleya Michaud as she discusses the foundational aspect of her creative practice, centered around the concept of play.  She emphasizes the impact of playfulness and how it has shaped her approach of accepting her pieces as they unfold, trusting the guidance of her hands and the unpredictable journey they may lead. By embracing this concept in creativity, it encourages this outlook beyond the canvas and into everyday life.

Bio: Aleya Michaud, a Black Acadian artist from New Brunswick, embraces the essence of creative process over finality in her art. Her process involves intuitive, childlike mark-making using diverse mediums such as traditional Chinese ink, acrylic paint, and oil sticks. Each piece evolves from simple marks into intricate depth, influenced by music, emotions, and surroundings. Dedicated to painting in her Riverview home studio, she's an active member of the New Brunswick Black Artist Alliance, showcasing solo works at Galerie Sans Nom and Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery, while contributing to group exhibitions at the Gallery on Queen. Her unique approach has gained recognition in various publications.

If you have any issues booking, please contact us during gallery hours.