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Africville: A Spirit that Lives On – A Reflection Project

August 17, 2019 - November 10, 2019


Year 2019 Theme Community, Nova Scotian Artists, Race

In 1989, MSVU Art Gallery, in partnership with the Black Cultural Center for Nova Scotia and the Black Genealogical Society, collaborated on the exhibition Africville: A Spirit that Lives On. It celebrated the legacy and spirit of Africville and set a benchmark for collaborative, community driven exhibitions. It travelled across the country and resulted in books and conversations that remain ongoing. 30 years later, the collaborators reunited, joined by the Africville Museum, to look back at the original exhibition and take the opportunity to reflect on what has happened since.

The artworks on view were selected from responses to a public call for submissions; the selection committee included Kim Cain-Simmonds (BANNS), Irvine Carvery (Africville Genealogical Society), David Dahms (MSVU Art Gallery), Letitia Fraser (artist), Juanita Peters (Africville Museum), Ashley Preston (MSVU Art Gallery), and Laura Ritchie (MSVU Art Gallery).

Opening Reception

Saturday, August 17 at 2pm

Please join MSVU Art Gallery, the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and the Africville Genealogy Society, and the Africville Museum for a relaxed reception with refreshments. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

Poetry & Performance

Saturday, September 14 at 2:30pm

Please join us for an afternoon of musical performances, poetry, and storytelling by artists in Africville: A Spirit that Lives On—A Reflection Project, including George Borden, Linda Carvery, Martha Mutale and Gloria Wesley. Refreshments will be served.  American Sign Language interpretation provided.

George Elliott Clarke

Saturday, September 28 at 2:00pm

Please join MSVU Art Gallery and Africville: A Spirit that Lives On – A Reflection Project co-organizers for a presentation of music, readings, and reflection on Africville by poet, playwright and literary critic George Elliott Clarke.

Born in Windsor, NS in 1960 and raised in Halifax, NS, George Elliott Clarke’s work chronicles the experiences of black Canadian communities, especially those of Nova Scotia. Clarke has served as the City of Toronto’s Poet Laureate from 2012-2015 and the Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2016-2017. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry (2001), the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award (2004), the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2005), Appointment to the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer (2008), and 8 honorary doctorates. Clarke now lives in Toronto, Ontario and holds the position of the E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto.

American Sign Language interpretation is available for all public programs – please contact art.gallery@msvu.ca to request.

How We Build: On Craft and Blackness

Friday, October 18 at 7:00pm

Presented by MSVU Art Gallery, Visual Arts News and Nocturne: Art at Night
Panel Discussion with Sobaz Benjamin, NAT chantel, Letitia Fraser and Juanita Peters, moderated by Francesca Ekwuyasi
Event Location: Art Bar + Projects

Based on curator Pamela Edmond’s statement “I am no longer interested in a seat at the table. I now want to build my own table,” this panel discussion will focus on the concept of Black artists creating work for a Black audience. Illuminating ideas about sharing intergenerational knowledge and craft as a means of fostering solidarity and resistance within and between various Black communities in Nova Scotia, this panel will explore locating pleasure, joy, and celebration as tools for survival while navigating structural oppression.

Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. American Sign Language interpretation is available upon request – please contact publisher@visualartsnews.ca in advance to book an interpreter.

Film Screenings

Sunday, October 20 at 2:00pm

Please join StART Festival organizers and MSVU Art Gallery for a screening of select films from the exhibition and poetry readings. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.
Events details can be found here.

Catalogue