Finding strength in vulnerability: How these artists are celebrating black men through portraits
'You can look in everyone's eyes and know there's a story'
One day, Toronto-based artist Oluseye looked at his studio wall — postered with photos of faces to inspire his paintings — and realized that it had become a beautiful mural of black men. He wanted to fill a room with these faces. He wanted to show black men's vulnerability and the diversity of their spirits.
This is how A Room Full of Black Boys, his collaboration with photographer Jah Grey, was born. Oluseye and Grey spent two weeks photographing over 300 black men across Toronto, then postered their faces on a wall with Oluseye's signature pastel, chalk and acrylic work on top.
I wanted to do this as a way to give black men in this city a sense of being, a sense of belonging and a sense of knowing that they're valued.- Oluseye
In this video, we see Oluseye installing the exhibition at Toronto's Blank Canvas Gallery as he tells us about why this installation was so important for him to create.
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