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Northbound 2024 - Bridges, Boundaries & Cultural Convergence


Northbound was created by North York Arts in 2019 to uplift local professional artists and bring high quality art exhibitions to the North York community and has since presented 14 exhibitions with one exhibition at the North York Centre Mall in 2019.


In 2024, I curated the exhibition! But, a cool fun fact is that while I was interning at North York Arts in 2018, I got to work on the ideation, policies, and timelines for installing work and communicating with artists for Northbound. My internship was completed before I got to see the first exhibit come to fruition, BUT in 2024 I was hired to be a curator for Northbound~ A full circle moment! What's even more full circle is that I was blessed with this opportunity after facilitating my Journaling Your Cultural Collage program in partnership with North York Arts & VIBE Arts. In this program, BIPOC and newcomer youth in North York participated in a reflective and explorative program that uses digital collage and various forms of journaling to affirm identity and practice self-care closed with an anthology photobook that documented their collective wellness journey! My wellness-based arts program became the foundation for the Northbound exhibit because of it's impact and I was honoured to be selected to curate the next exhibition.


Photo Credit: Maria Vega Photography

I found it essential to amplify Black voices in public space, especially being a Black Jamaican-Canadian artist living in North York. One of my passions, you see, is amplifying marginalized voices and I believe that public art is one of the most accessible ways of doing so. The intent was grounded to feature Black voices beyond Black History/Futures month to highlight the importance of celebrating Black voices all year round. In partnership with GWL Realty Advisors, this exhibit amplifies the voices of Angela Walcott, Jassira De Almeida, and Jasmine Vanstone (me), to take up physical space in a high traffic location in Willowdale. Metaphorically, taking up space means allowing yourself to be seen and heard, expressing your ideas and opinions with conviction, and having the courage to occupy the space you rightfully deserve. With this exhibition, we were able to do that in a literal sense by designing colourful tall pillars in the pathways of pedestrians to create moments of pause and reflection - to make moments of witnessing and validating Black voices.



The Black Futures exhibition thematically explores Bridges, Boundaries, and Cultural Convergence. Bridges are often symbols of relationships built between two entities and can be a metaphor for exchange. Boundaries are imagined or felt borders and walls that can limit the vulnerability or openness to exchange. Cultural convergence is a theory which recognizes changing relationships and experiences informed through open dialogue and appreciating the value of exchange while acknowledging and celebrating diverse cultures. This exhibition was positioned to create conversations and connect both artist and community members AND with the reception of the exhibition, GWLRA extended the exhibition in North York Centre Mall well beyond both Black Futures Month and Women's History Month!


Left to Right: Jassira De Almeida, Jasmine Vanstone, Angela Walcott. Photo Credit: Maria Vega Photography.

This is my first ever experience being a curator and I'm proud that it was received so well and that both Jassira and Angela felt pleased with their works. It was a blessing seeing both their confidence in speaking about their work blossom during the meet-and-greet. I look forward to the future and I'm grateful for the relationships I've built with friends, family, community members, artists, and all my supporters to make this and many other dreams come to life.

 

To learn more about Northbound, check out North York Arts webpage.


See the links below to view more artworks by:

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