Virtual art installation showcases work by local Black creators

A mixed media art show called Aftershock is showcasing the creations and talents of young Black artists and creators in Guelph and across Waterloo region.

Have a look at some visual submissions and meet their creators


2 years ago
Duration 1:11
Art installation showcasing young Black creators.

A mixed media art show called Aftershock is showcasing the talents of young Black artists and creators from Guelph and across Waterloo region.

Monday's event helps launch Black "Heritage" Month organized by the Guelph Black Heritage Society in collaboration with the University of Guelph's Cultural Diversity office and the Guelph Black Student's Association.

Online ticket sales for the show have closed as of Monday afternoon, but don't worry if you missed your chance. Here are some creators and their submissions:

Alten Wilmot

Alten Wilmot, a 22-year-old Kitchener artist, submitted three visual pieces for the show.

The first one is a short film called I'm With You, Not With You, described as a dance film about a relationship that has "gone stale." It is co-created by Sierra Holder and filmed and edited by Kaisha Ayeinga.

The other two submissions are both self-portraits of Wilmot taken following the U.S. Capitol Hill riot. They "capture the feeling as a Black person of exhaustion and this concept of being surrounded right now by so much tragedy and trauma related to people who look like me, are from my culture," as described by Wilmot. The co-photographer is Kasha Price.

One of the self-portrait submissions by Alten Wilmot. (Submitted by Alten Wilmot)

Naomi Avery Van Arragon

The 18-year-old Guelph-based artist entered her portrait of Angela Davis, a prominent activist and academic.

"She was really powerful in her time and she fought for LGBTQ rights, she fought for a lot of things and I admired that," said Van Arragon.

Naomi Avery Van Arragon's drawing of Angela Davis. (Submitted by Naomi Avery Van Arragon)

Lola Oyefeso

Lola Oyefeso submitted a piece titled Agbara Ti O Loju (Faceless Strength).

"The series Agbara Ti O Loju represents my interpretation of the END SARS protest and the overall social and political unrest that occurred in Nigeria," said Oyefeso, who is Nigerian.

Oyefeso provided the following statement to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo about the submissions:

"The backgrounds of two of the paintings are ankara print. Ankara fabrics are bold and fierce, just like the youth of Nigeria are right now as they fight for their security of life."

"None of the women have faces. Their anonymity represents numerous things. Firstly, it represents the unity of Nigerian citizens, which resulted in raising a lot of awareness about the situation. It also represented the beneficiary fact that the END SARS protest had no one leader, making it hard for the government to infiltrate and corrupt the movement. The two women face forward boldly. Holding their head up high and remaining courageous despite the danger."

"The third painting is a tribute to the peaceful protesters whose lives were taken. What has happened is a travesty. The subject of the piece turns her face as she, as we, mourn for the lives that were taken."

Lola Oyefeso says her series, called 'Agbara Ti O Loju', is her interpretation of the END SARS protest in Nigeria. (Submitted by Lola Oyefeso)
Agbara Ti O Loju (Faceless Strength) by Lola Oyefeso. (Submitted by Lola Oyefeso)
Oyefeso said the subject turns her face as she mourns the lives that were taken. (Submitted by Lola Oyefeso)

Mechaela Alfonso

Mechaela Alfonso is a poet and student at the University of Guelph. She submitted a poem called "All The Things That Make You, You."

She said it was written about her boyfriend over the course of their relationship.

She told CBC she was grateful for the opportunities presented by the art show, which is offered by the Guelph Black Heritage Society, the University of Guelph and the Guelph Black Student's Association.

"It's a really good opportunity for young artists, to not only build their confidence like in my case but also be highlighted a bit more," she said.

"All The Things That Make You, You.

Eyes like earth,
Half closed, hooded and relaxed.
Never fully open unless to send a message,
Never fully closed unless to escape.
Lips like home,
With a mark of beauty that matches mine.
Skin so smooth, traced with scars and a sweet smell
Hands rough with a soft touch and gentle caress.

There is nothing more in this world
that I want more than you.
Nothing feels more right than being with you
By your side
Under your arm
Spread across your lap,
Hands on your chest.
I've fallen and I am falling
I'm loved, and I am loving.

Chest strong and shoulders broad
With dustings of scars of stories untold
Lost to time, but locked in your memory
I can tell by the slight smile that flashes in your eyes when I ask
"how did you get this?"

Hair dark and wild
Locked and loaded with a brain that only Einstein can challenge.
Always active with the thoughts of
daydreams and calculations
that dance across your synapses.

There is nothing more in this world
that I want more than you.
I fantasize of calling you mine forever
You are the blessing that I could have never imagined praying for.
God sent you to me in an act of mercy
Far extending beyond his graciousness.

I've fallen and I am falling
I'm loved, and I am loving.

These are all of the things that I love.
And these are all of the things that make you, you."

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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