Photo d’une vue de l’exposition Blackity. À gauche de la photo, sur un mur blanc, nous pouvons y lire en gris clair le titre de l’exposition : « BLACKITY » et juste en dessous, en plus petits caractères, « commissaire/curator : Joana Joachim ». À droite de ce mur blanc se trouve une ouverture agissant comme l’entrée de l’exposition. Cette photo nous offre donc un avant-goût de ce que contient l’exposition, l’intérieur de la salle étant que partiellement visible à travers l’entrée de l’exposition.
Blackity (2021-2022), exhibition view. Photo credit: Paul Litherland, 2021.

Blackity [on-site]

An exhibition curated by Joana Joachim

September 23, 2021 - June 23, 2022 / online: October 7, 2021

The cyclical dis-remembering of Black Canadian artistic practices has long been characteristic of art institutions on Turtle Island. Yet, as curator and researcher Andrea Fatona notes in an interview with artist and curator Liz Ikiriko [1], there are clear periods during which Black Canadian arts practitioners’ work makes itself known despite this phenomenon. Critical writing and archival documentation of these moments are crucial to the process of inscribing them into collective memory and into larger Canadian art historical discourses. What might such texts reveal about Black Canadian art history if viewed in a continuum?

Blackity delineates the trajectory of contemporary Black Canadian art as witnessed by Artexte’s collection between the 1970s and the 2010s. The exhibition gathers some key moments and people to consider the thematic, aesthetic or conceptual threads linking them. By placing these documents in relation to one another, curator Joana Joachim begins to trace a temporal cartography of Black Canadian art history. The exhibition is presented both on site and online. The digital space is conceptualized as a companion to the physical exhibition offering a glimpse into the Black Canadian art milieu beyond the borders of Artexte’s collection. 

The vertical bands seen throughout the exhibition are a visualization of data pulled from e-Artexte. The upward motion of the disconnected stripes emphasize the fragmentary nature of this history echoing the trends around documenting Black Canadian art practices. Thinner bands represent a small number of documents during a certain time period in the collection whereas thicker ones represent an abundance of information. The digital exhibition includes audio clips from the curator as well as short notes and expanded annotations nodding to various people, projects, documents and videos from outside the Artexte collection. 

– Joana Joachim, curator


Visit the online portion of Blackity:


Dr. Joana Joachim will join Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts as Assistant professor of Black Studies in Art Education, Art History and Social Justice as of January 2022. Her research and teaching interests include Black feminist art histories, Black diasporic art histories, critical museologies, Black Canadian studies, and Canadian slavery studies. Her SSHRC-funded doctoral work, There/Then, Here/Now: Black Women’s Hair and Dress in the French Empire, examined the visual culture of Black women’s hair and dress in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, investigating practices of self-preservation and self-care through the lens of creolization as well as historical and contemporary art practices. She earned her PhD in the department of Art History and Communication Studies and at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University working under the supervision of Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson. In 2020 she was appointed as a McGill Provostial Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Institutional Histories, Slavery and Colonialism.


[1] Fatona, Andrea and Ikiriko, Liz. “Speaking Ourselves Into Beings.” C Magazine: 144. Winter 2020. (2020).