'We are a home, a home for your art': BIPOC artists launch community and gallery space
TakeHome BIPOC Arts House opens Saturday in Winnipeg's Exchange District
Artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour have a new gallery to call home in Winnipeg's Exchange District.
Starting this weekend, TakeHome BIPOC Arts House will open its doors, by appointment only, for an inaugural show featuring artists Glodi Bahati and Bria Fernandes.
"I think there's not enough spaces that are just for BIPOC people to be in charge of our own stories," said Bahati. "In my opinion, that's why the space exists."
Bahati's photography is part of an exhibition that speaks about Black identity for women, trans and femme-identifying people.
The opening show represents her second ever exhibition and an introduction into a world of art that she's excited to dive into, with help from others.
The new downtown space — located in the Artspace building on Arthur Street, in what was previously known as Studio 622 — will showcase the works of Black, Indigenous and people of colour artists, while providing low-barrier access to supplies, a work studio, and peer-to-peer mentorship.
The Manitoba chapter of Canadian Artists Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC), a non-profit that advocates for professional visual artists, provided the studio space and is fundraising so it can grow.
"We are a home — a home for your art or home for BIPOC peoples to gather and edify each other and grow in their crafts, whatever their discipline may be," said Sappfyre McLeod, administrative co-ordinator for the Arts House.
As a space run by and for people who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour, the Arts House aims at moving beyond diversity and inclusion and into the realm of building relationships with artists, so they feel safer and more autonomous in their work.
"Some of the things that have created a need for this space are how wildly undervalued BIPOC artists are, [and] how exploitative the institution of art can be in dealing with BIPOC folks," said McLeod.
Through consultations with artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour, the Arts House took direction from the community it looks to serve.
That process provided the organization with the idea to create a space where artists of colour can work and share knowledge, including how to appropriately price their work, apply for grants and ensure contracts are upheld.
"I think a lot of emerging artists don't even know where to go to, or where to turn, or what questions to even ask for certain things," said artist and steering committee member Annie Beach.
The space, which also relies on funding from the Manitoba Arts Council, has been in development since August 2020, said Beach.
Beach, a graduate of the University of Manitoba's school of art program, is excited to start curating a residency and second exhibition show next month. She wants to give others a chance to succeed, even if they can't attend formal programs as she did.
"I honestly think that TakeHome is going to take so many different forms, in the sense that it's going to just support any artist in any endeavour that they want to do," she said.
Anyone interested in seeing the gallery show Embodied: They Hold Their Own, a show curated by the Kinfolk committee, can book an appoint at the TakeHome BIPOC Arts House website.