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While Black

A forum for speculation on what the gallery can’t hold

April 29, 2023 - November 5, 2023 Curated by Charles Campbell, Michelle Jacques & Denise Ryner

While Black: a forum for speculation on what the gallery can’t hold is a multi-year series of forums, talks, and public presentations developed and organized by Black curators from across Canada in conversation with artists to consider both the limits and possibilities of the relationship between contemporary art spaces in Canada and Black art, artists, arts workers, and audiences. This project is a collaboration between Or Gallery, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and the AGGV, and is organized by Charles Campbell, Michelle Jacques and Denise Ryner in consultation with Pamela Edmonds, Alyssa Fearon, Dominique Fontaine, Sally Frater, Bushra Junaid, Crystal Mowry, Allison Yearwood.

In 2021, the curators asked each artist to produce a document of their relationship to the art gallery and its systems of representation as Black artists working in Canada, including consideration of the project query what the gallery can’t hold? Through multimodal and multimedia responses, these ten artists offered questions, imperatives, proposals and insight into their own experiences within contemporary art institutions. Since While Black was intended to initiate conversation and exchange between artists, curators and audiences, space to talk, respond and introduce new questions and ideas into the project is an important element within the presentation space. Artists in the iteration at the AGGV present questions, imperatives, narratives, and proposals to initiate exchange on the space for Black art in public culture with local respondents, collaborating curators and gallery visitors. As well as three exhibitions of these projects at Or Gallery (Vancouver), Confederation Centre Art Gallery (Charlottetown), and now the AGGV, While Black has also included two discursive gatherings in Montreal and Saskatoon.

Artists include: Lucie Chan (Vancouver, BC), Karma Clarke-Davis (Toronto, ON/Berlin, Germany), Kemi Craig (Victoria, BC), Spatial Esk (Toronto, ON), Stanley Février (Montréal, QC), Judah Iyunade (Winnipeg, MB), Anna Jane McIntyre (Montreal, QC), Ruby Smith Diaz (Vancouver, BC), Chukwudubem Ukaigwe (Winnipeg, MB), Jan Wade (Vancouver, BC), Valérie D. Walker (Vancouver, BC).

Image Credits: Spatial Esk, Afro Space series, 2021, digital prints.
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