Exhibitionists

This festival celebrating black art is helping create the Toronto its founders dream of living in

Afrochic is more than just a fashion show — it's a celebration of African-Canadian culture started after its creators saw limited spaces speaking to their experiences.

Afrochic is much more than just a fashion show — it's a celebration of African-Canadian culture

Hosted by Amanda Parris and headlined by grammy nominated Jidenna, 2017's Afrochic festival featured a multitude of artists from aerial silk dancers to spoken word poets to body painters. 1:40

When the creators of Afrochic dreamed of the type of city they wanted to live in, they realized something was missing. Toronto was filled with a strong black artists and entrepreneurs, but they existed in silos and didn't always have the avenues to connect with each other.

The founders wanted to create a multi-faceted space that celebrated the vibrant culture and artistic expression of the African-Canadian diaspora. As executive producer Amoye Henry put it: "We still saw very few and limited spaces that were speaking to our Afropolitan experiences — so naturally, we created a space for ourselves." So in 2010, Afrochic was born.

(CBC Arts)

After a successful five-year run, providing a platform for many underrepresented artists, they hosted what seemed like it would be the final show. But now, following two years of hiatus, the event — which has featured over 30 black designers from across Canada, as well as numerous musicians, spoken word performers, visual artists and dancers — has re-emerged to continue the important work that had been started.

Hosted by CBC Arts' own Amanda Parris and headlined by Grammy-nominated musician Jidenna, the night featured a multitude of artists from aerial silk dancers to spoken word poets to body painters — and it became clear that the event had returned not a minute too soon.

Special thanks to Dwayne Holness at Corex Creative for the footage!

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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