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Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2006
Published by: Thames Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, et al
Year published: 2006
Number of pages: 20
ISBN: 1-894651-40-5

image of Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora

Catalogue for Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora group exhibition that brought together four artists from “the Black Diaspora” and sought to locate practices and debates within a specific context of Canadian Black cultural politics. The exhibition, curated by Andrea Fatona, featured Deanna Bowen, Christopher Cozier, Michael Fernandes and Maud Sulter. The exhibition was a collaboration between the following galleries in Canada: Thames Art Gallery, Chatham, Ontario; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia; The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario; Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec; and Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon. Reading the Image toured from mid 2006 through to the end of 2008. 

The exhibition’s catalogue represents a hugely important document of diasporic art practice in Canada. As such, it takes its place alongside several other publications, one of the most notable being African Canadian Art and Culture, an issue (10.1) of the International Review of African American Art.

Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora was also characterised by the broadness of the art practices it represented, from photography, mixed media, and assemblage sculpture, through to installation.

Within her catalogue introduction (Connecting Across the Gaps: Experiencing the Black Diaspora), Fatona states “The exhibition Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora is a gesture towards continuing … black transnational dialogues… Its inspiration is also derived from two additional sources. First, it emerges out of the many conversations  I have had over the past two years with artist Deanna Bowen about her work and the complex ways in which the movement and migration of the black body, beginning with the slave trade, are articulated in visual artworks produced by black artists in the Anglophone world. These discussions led to a period of research and development that was jointly undertaken by Bowen and me. Out of this synergy, the exhibition took its shape…

Reading the Image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora brings together the works of artists Deanna Bowen (Canada), Christopher Cozier (Trinidad and Tobago), Michael Fernandes (Canada), and Maud Sulter (Scotland). The exhibition is comprised of (sic) photography, video, and installation works. While the works are not aesthetically linked, the artists represent common issues, and the medium each artist employs allows for self-conscious expressions of embodiment, subjectivity, and agency…”

Contents as follows:

Connecting Across the Gaps: Experiencing the Black Diaspora, text by Andrea Fatona

Anti-Localism, text by Peter James Hudson

Salted Cod…: Black Canada and Diasporic Sensibilities, text by Rinaldo Walcott

Credits and List of Works.

Texts liberally interspersed with colour and monochrome reproductions of artists’ work, details, and installation views.


Related people - view 5

»  Rasheed Araeen

Born, 1935 in Karachi, Pakistan

»  Deanna Bowen

Born, 1969 in Oakland, California, USA

»  Christopher Cozier

Born, 1959 in Port of Spain, Trinidad

»  Michael Fernandes

Born in Trinidad, date unknown

»  Maud Sulter

Born, 1960 in Glasgow, Scotland. Died, 2008

Related exhibitions

Related venues + view all 6

»  Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

»  The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

»  Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

»  Thames Art Gallery

Chatham, Ontario, Canada

»  Yukon Arts Centre

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada