Black artists and business owners are taking centre stage at Blaxpo, a special event this weekend to kick off Black History Month in Montreal.

The two-day expo features work by black artists from Montreal and elsewhere in the US and Canada, from portraits, to installations to comic art.

Another part of the expo gives black business owners a chance to connect with the community and share ideas for success.

"The goal is to really elevate black businesses in Montreal," said Nicole Antoine, co-founder of Four Brown Girls, the event's organizer.

"So, we have a voice, but not loud enough. And we want to make sure that our community knows that we have these distinct products and services." 

Melissa Allen, another Four Brown Girls, co-founder, said the expo fills a need for support and mentorship for women in Montreal's black community, of which, she said, there is little.

In addition, Allen said, the black community is sometimes divided along heritage lines, between those with Haitian, African, and Jamaican backgrounds. Organizers say the bilingual event is a way to bridge those gaps.

Blaxpo runs Jean. 30 and 31 at 1211 Roberto Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal. More information on its website.