New exhibits in Charlottetown showcase BIPOC athletes and the land we live on
Confederation Centre Art Gallery hosting 2 very different art exhibits
Two fresh exhibits at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery are displaying P.E.I. and its people in a new light.
The first one showcases BIPOC people taking part in sports in the province (the acronym stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour). It's More Than Sports: A Celebration of BIPOC Athletes on Prince Edward Island is a collection of artifacts, children's drawings and photographs, some from the 1800s and 1900s along with newer ones taken by Mi'kmaw photographer Patricia Bourque.
The exhibit is an opportunity to recognize these athletes' hard work and skill, said Sobia Ali-Faisal, the executive director of BIPOC USHR (the second half of the group's name stands for United for Strength, Home, Relationship).
"They highlight some of the BIPOC athletes who are currently competing in P.E.I. They may not be in the [Canada] Games, but they're athletes who are currently playing," she said.
The historic part of the exhibit demonstrates that BIPOC athletes have been in the province a very long time.
Deciding which athletes would be photographed for the exhibit followed some historical research and a public callout for local people who wanted to take part.
"Black athletes, Indigenous athletes who were from P.E.I. … definitely faced a lot of hurdles and discrimination during their time," Ali-Faisal said. "There's a lot of places they couldn't compete, for example."
She hopes the show will inspire more people to take part in sports.
"We're hoping that racialized people, BIPOC people in P.E.I. come and take a look at this exhibit — especially kids. We want them to be able to see themselves in these faces," she said.
Rematerializing the map
Starting Friday, visitors to the Sobey Gallery on the Confederation Centre's upper level will find a long table filled with brightly coloured plastic pieces. A show by Quebec artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens called Land is not a mat to be rolled up and taken away opens Feb. 17.
The pieces extending up from the table are shaped like cutouts of the various townships in Quebec.
"They're taking this map, this great expropriationist abstraction, and the violence of it, and rematerializing it," said curator Sylvie Fortin.
She said the show will challenge people to think about "where we live, how we got to live here and perhaps to think about it differently."
It took months to create the more than 200 small sculptures, but longer to get all the research in order. The exhibit also features a video component.
New for this presentation of the show is a look at the maps that arose from explorer Samuel Holland's early exploration of P.E.I., then called Saint John's Island. Holland was the first Surveyor-General of British North America.
Fortin and the two Quebec artists worked together on that aspect of the exhibit last year, during a residency on the Island.
"We hope people will bring all of their knowledge and views on the piece and that we'll learn a lot through the expression," said Fortin.