In July 2020, BSAM Canada was chosen out of 32 applicants to lead the first-ever 16-month Waterfront Artist Residency Program in partnership with Waterfront Toronto and The Waterfront BIA.
Beginning in 2021, Queen Kukoyi and Nico Taylor will help bring to life Earthseeds: Space of the Living, a project inspired by Octavia Butler’s Earthseed book series. The project will include various events and multimedia art installations that will appear along downtown Toronto’s waterfront.
Co-leads Queen and Nico believe that when they utter phrase grassroots to describe their collective, it refers to the idea of spreading buds in the soil. These buds contain roots that will stretch to revitalize sites of trauma and promote a future that combats the current racial, cultural, and economic adversity. Earthseeds: Space of Living will look at the seeds we are planting in our lives and how we can nourish or transplant them in order to heal.
“One thing that this pandemic forced us to do is slow down and take stock of grievances, social issues, and civic engagements that we may have previously ignored,” said Nico Taylor, co-leader of the BSAM Canada collective.
The need to grow and adapt has become paramount in our world today. The way we think, act and take care of ourselves all needs to be reimagined as we adjust to our new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Creating and maintaining healing spaces for Afrodiasporic communities has always been important for BSAM Canada. It has become even more necessary as we deal with disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates and a renewed focus on racism in our institutions.
“With this residency, we are asking the public to join us in thinking about our connections to the waterfront, elements like earth and the water, ideas surrounding development and economic progression, and our relationships with one another and with ourselves,” Taylor explained. A particular focus will be placed on reimagining neglected spaces along the waterfront as meditative healing centres for the public. BSAM Canada will also incorporate a digital component using Zoom software for those who are unable to enjoy the exhibit in-person.
By collaborating with community organizations and businesses, BSAM Canada will create dialogue around the reimagination of what Blackness is and can be in economic, educational, and cultural infrastructures.
AUTHOR: Danya Elsayed | @findyourstory