The beauty about change is that it is constant and inevitable but also malleable. We can change apart, we can change without direction or we can choose to change together. Changing together takes effort, time, vision, understanding, and trust, but its impact is like no other. That’s the change I’m building towards.
- Annick MF
Mapping Blackness in Montreal (MBM)
MBM is an intergenerational community hub that supports and encourages intergenerational activities and projects towards building a stronger sense of community throughout Montreal’s Black communities while allowing entry points to a better understanding of the Black experience in Montreal. Some of these projects includes uncovering the histories of Black communities in Montreal through writing projects, oral history and artistic performances. While other consist of supporting Black community activities, events & businesses as a way to honour Black contributions in the city, and participate in the betterment of the experiences of Black individuals and communities in Montreal.
ACOUS!: A Chorus of Unidentified Singers
ACOUS!: A Chorus of Unidentified Singers’ is an ode to
all the women who made history;
the chorus of voices who carry the story;
the countless anonymous stitches that hold things together.
- Jess Glavina
This project created and led by Jess Glavina has taken on many iterations since its inception as a play for the Revolution She Wrote theatre festival. We’ve performed it as part of many community initiatives and transformed it into a workshop piece that speaks to our daily invisible labour, the politics around self-care and the necessity for community care.
We are currently in the works of finding a way to share parts of ACOUS in a written format that can be shared online but if we book a live event in the meantime i’ll be sure to let you know via my events page.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELF: A Transcultural Art Event
“Take Care of Your Self” is a multidisciplinary exhibition and series of events bringing together artwork, intervention, performance, and conversations by 28 artists of diverse communities dealing with the intersections of struggle and self-care. Arab, Black, Indigenous, Brown, Muslim, “Other”: We hold this space by grieving and healing together.
“Take Care of Your Self” is a deliberate act in the politicization of self-care in order to better resist, or persist, in the struggles for rights, freedoms and wellbeing. Illustrated by the works in this exhibit, the heavy subjects of trauma, loss and displacement can transform into opportunities for healing and empowerment, foregrounding the concept of self-care at the forefront of the discourse on struggle.
- Sundus Abdul-Hadi
I was honoured to work with Sundus for this amazing transcultural initiative. For the event, I had the opportunity to co-lead a community care workshop (with Jess Glavina and Teeanna Munro) and share parts of my personal journey to motherhood. This event is now in the works of becoming a published project which I will contributing to as well. Looking forward to see its final iteration and be able to share it with you all.
The Symbols of Resistance Project
Symbols of Resistance: an Exhibition Celebrating the Convergence of Black Artists and their Stories is the culmination of the Montreal Black Artists-in-Community Residency, a project we created in response to a lack of support for Black artists in the city. Our goal was to provide resources and space in order for these meaningful exchanges to prevail, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to done this work alongside our 8 selected residents: KAY NAU, G L O W Z I, SIKA VALMÉ, VALÉRIE BAH, CHELSY MONIE, PO B. K. LOMAMI, CARL-PHILIPPE SIMONISE, AÏSSATOU DIALLO (EYESSA2)
Symbols of Resistance and the Montreal Black Artists-in-Community Residency was a passion project I was able to create with the unbelievable support of my co-coordinator Meghan Gagliardi. It was an extremely gratifying and challenging project because we were able to be the blade of grass that pushed through the concrete but were also hit with the reality that doing doing this work as an unsupported and overextended duo is not a sustainable model. For 2019 we’ve had to put the continuation of this dream project on hold so that we can figure our a sustainable model that can really become a regular source of support to Black artists and activists in the city. We’re truly grateful for the first iteration of this project, there were many lessons learned and it had reveberations around the city that confirmed the need for this type of project. Don’t worry we’re gathering our tools and we’ll be back soon.
I’m writing a book. It’s part memoir part journal part handbook. Honestly I didn’t expect to be writing a book at this point my life, especially not this book but somewhere along my master’s program and becoming a mother, this book decided to hatch and now I’m journeying with my vision to see where the story ends. In its first draft which I made from my master’s thesis it was called MF’s Handbook to Navigating Blackness in Montreal and I described it as a youth-aimed handbook narrated by a character called MF, who represents my younger self. In this draft MF invited young readers to join her as she spoke about the process of becoming critical and informed about the factors that shape how Blackness is understood in Montreal and how this idea of Blackness impacts her lived experience as a Black girl in Montreal. A lot of these elements will likely still be present in the end product but there’ll also be a lot more of me in there this time around. Poems I’ve been holding onto for years, visual memories I want to share, affirmations and questions that have been by my side as I navigated this world. I feel that my creative process in my first draft was too linear, likely because I was creating under academic pressure but as our communities know we’ve always learned first and foremost from each other’s stories. I’m just working on how to best share mine.
Coming to a bookstore near you… eventually
past creative lives
Storytelling & Documentaries
There was a point in my life where I thought making documentaries would be my calling. I’ve now learned that I am a soul of many callings and that storytelling & story sharing will always be core to what I do. My debut documentary Kafou Krèyol is a special archive in my creative past because I learned a lot myself in its productions and so many of the participants in this film are deeply dear to my heart. I might end up shooting another doc one day when but for now, Kafou Kreyol has my heart.
Radio & Music Journalism
I’m an avid fan of Montreal Black Arts and I used to be a very active participant in the Montreal Hip Hop scene. I hosted a radio show, wrote for many magazines and covered quite a few events over the years. My focus has shifted recently but radio & music journalism still hold a special space in my heart so don’t be surprised if you see me drop a playlist, review or recommendation here and there.
Music videos & Videography
When I was deep in my relationship with the Montreal Hip Hop scene I started carrying a camera around to capture photos of the greatness and somehow my cousin Alexey ended up convincing me to take up videography. I got to work so many great people, have access to amazing places and really push my creative mind. Videography is definitely not for me but I’m grateful for those experiences and proud of the moments I was able to capture. One of my personal fav projects of the sort was making Sam I Am’s music video for ‘Show Ya Light’. Talk about talent, love & light!