I’m an artist within a community, not an artist who works with community.
I make that distinction to clarify that the work I create with my community is primary to be consumed by that same community. This mandate obviously shapes my work differently than if I were aiming for instant mass appeal and many of my projects have an open-ended longterm vision that can’t really be capsulated within one production outcome. Below you’ll find a description of some of the longterm projects I’m currently working on and the many other ways I stay involved in my community.
Critical Creations is the umbrella term under which I place my projects that are in collaboration with or directly aimed towards the communities I work with. This long term series of projects, creations and community collaborations, share a common vision of empowering marginalized groups and challenging all forms of oppression. With a critical lens this series locates and exposes social injustices while offering opportunities for social action. Some of current projects within Creative Creations include a Montreal Black Artist-in-Community residency, the Matriarch and Without Industry.
Montreal Black Artist-in-Community residency:
**Currently accepting submissions**
Our Montreal Black Artists-in-Community Residency is a themed program, which centers on Black identity in Montreal. We call our program an ‘artist-in-community residency’ as a way of inviting Montreal’s Black artists to engage and create for/with their community(ies). During the residency, artists will work on creating art that carry community stories, histories and perspectives. We are looking for artists who are interested in expressing Black identity in Montreal in relation to intersecting themes such as Cultural History, Women, LGBTQ, Immigration, Incarceration, Employment, Families and Profiling.
This artistic collaboration is meant to be a catalyst to strengthen relationships within the Montreal Black community(ies) and generate constructive dialogue with peripheral communities. We aim to provide resources and space in order for these meaningful exchanges to prevail.
The Matriarch is a monthly podcast that helps deconstruct the assumptions about single mother homes, while providing a collective support system for these families by creating a platform for them to voice their concerns, address their needs, offer solutions, create dialogue, and inspire. This project was inspired by my own personal experience with my amazing single mother and as a response to the assumptions and biases people have about single motherhood, particularly black single motherhood. You can subscribe and tune in here: mixcloud.com/Matriarch
Here’s a sample of our episodes:
Without Industry was originally supposed to be a one off documentary highlighting the Montreal Urban Arts Scene. However, as I started doing research for this film and uncovering interesting facts about the history of urban arts is Montreal, it became clear that this had to be a longterm layered project that would be released as a series on a variety of mediums. The conception of this project is still in progress but I hope to release it’s first chapter within the next year (2017). This project is deeply rooted in Montreal’s history, politics, and culture and aims to highlight the links between all of these factors as we consider the present and future of the Montreal Urban Arts scene. Check out the blog for more info on its progression: withoutindustry.wordpress.com
– Past Community Involvement –
R/E Le Project Rencontres – The Encounters Project (Research Assistant):
“The Encounters Project is a multilingual performance ensemble offering a simple proposition: that we as a community work toward social harmony by directly addressing difference and conflict. The ensemble incorporates live music and multi-media into their theatrical performances of real peoples’ experiences.” I have been a research assistant and videographer for this project since November 2014. encounters-rencontres.org
Hip Hop Past, Present and Future (Teaching Assistant):
Hip Hop Past, Present and Future is an elective course available at Concordia University, taught by Yassin Alsalman. “This course is intended as a starting point for self-reflection and self-directed research. The course should not be misconstrued as a “History of Hip-Hop” class. Rather, class should be considered as a venue for exploring contemporary issues, self-analysis and/or reflection(s) [Through a hip hop lens] while always keeping history in context with the present.” I’ve been Yassin’s teaching assistant since September 2014. hiphop-ppp.com