Black women come out of the shadows

Des femmes noires sortent de l’ombre

Photo: Manoucheka Lachérie
“Uringo Bayoyo”, from the series “The Floating Homeland”, a work of Shanna Strauss


Sexism, violence, racism, mental health, homosexuality… Such are the themes explored by the exhibition Subordinates which runs until Saturday, 15 h in the Centre of dissemination and experimentation of the UQAM. An event falls within the framework of the Month of Black history that looks at black women artists who, in their contemporary practices, wished to return to the narration.

“Voices of emancipation” is the theme of the 28th Month of Black history, which this year highlights the Black who have contributed each in their own way to the improvement of the living conditions of these communities in Quebec. “The talents of black women are little celebrated,” says Claire-Anse Saint-Éloi, coordinator for the roundtable of the Month of Black history. “That is why — in the wake of the movement #MoiAussi — we decided to highlight 12 of these women very inspiring, which represent the pillars of our communities in quebec. “

“Putting women at the honor is a great idea “, valid Cameroonian of origin Lynda Kamgue Neyret, founder of the boutique african Nyumba design in Brossard. “Question of recall, among other things, violence against women in some African countries where their rights are written but not recognized. As the Month of Black history, it is important. This is the occasion to remember the great figures of the movement against racial segregation and inequality. “

A hundred activities — films, exhibitions, lectures, performances, symposia are planned in Montreal and the region, to stimulate reflections, to promote the history and culture and sharing of inventions and trade secrets. An opportunity to meet many inspirational figures from different communities.

Queer, trans, lesbian…

Among these activities, the Subordinate is an exhibition developed by two students of haitian descent from the UQAM and author of the platform of franco-canadian Nigra luventa : Michaëlle Sergile and Diane Gistal. The event highlights the work of artists and local emerging, but also big international names who invest in the field of contemporary art for several years and who share the fact of being women, being Black and wanting, through their artistic practices, reclaim the narrative.

Junior comes from the latin word subalternus meaning “under,” explains Diane Gistal. “The exhibition, a mixture of paintings, videos and photographs focusing on those that represent this subalternity : black women short, black women who come from disadvantaged social backgrounds, the black women who have a different sexual orientation, those who are abused, those who suffer from a mental illness, a taboo persists in black communities. “

Dear Nina : Ever Seen a Childless Mother, a short film that was disturbing directed by the filmmaker, writer, and american actress Constance Strickland, this Cora, a woman with a mental illness and whose troubled past is revealed through a series of letters. The film makes the link between the past, the present, and the abuse of historical perpetrated against the Black since the days of slavery. Lines of pain-generational disguised as one of the greatest traits of the black woman, her strength.

Also troubling, the series of photos Faces year Phases, of the activist visual for the lesbian, queer, abused women… Zanele Muholi. It is with blows of shots that the photographer of south african struggles against the received wisdom.

Food for thought

Entitled” I Want a Dyke for President, a poem truculent written in 1992 by the artist and activist Zoe Leonard, and charged, via a video created by the filmmaker in new york Adinah Danciger, with ardour by the american rapper, afro-feminist, singer, poet, and pioneer of the hip-hop scene – queer – new-york Mykki Blanco, tickles the neurons. The poem proclaims a president of the United States with aids who have suffered a rape or an abortion at the age of 16 years, which would make the queue like everyone at the clinic, would have tasted the hospital food… It calls for a black woman as president.

The theme of slavery is here addressed by the director and visual artist, québécois of haitian origin Martine Chartrand. The author of the short animated films black Soul and MacPherson presents a portrait in graphite pencil of Mary Ann Law Guilmartin, a daughter of slaves born in Georgia in 1859, the United States. She was the adoptive daughter of Lawrence James Guilmartin, cotton merchant, and Frances Jane Mary Lloyd, a couple of Savannah, Georgia. In 1887, Quebec city, Mary Ann Law Guilmartin, married Mr. Onésiphore Ernest Talbot, member of parliament for Bellechasse.

As to the poster that announces the Subordinate, it is a work of the collection “Matriarch” of the painter and street artist of haitian origin Maliciouz. “This painting pays tribute to the women who have given birth, raised, and educated children. To these mothers and sisters carry the speech and matrimoine, ” says Diane Gistal. The exhibition, on walls black-and-white gives place to a wide range of emotions in a sober setting. “The scenography also forced a questioning of,’ she says. In the galleries classic, the walls are white. We live in a western world where the standard is white. Black blocks add another dimension. “

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