Unveiling Heroes of the Block

Inspiration

At the end of August 2020, the Afrodiasporic community lost Chadwick Boseman. Not only did Boseman play the Marvel superhero Black Panther, he also led a life filled with feats of heroic determination—particularly when it came to contributing nuggets of compassion to uplift his community.

As speculative artists who regularly engage with the cultural movement and philosophy of Afrofuturism, we believe that envisioning our leaders and freedom fighters as real-world superheroes can facilitate discussions that will empower and liberate the imagination.

Unveiling Heroes of the Block is a visual narrative and archiving project that is part of ArtworxTO: City of Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022. It seeks to uncover the buried and lesser-known stories of prominent African Canadian figures that contributed to the foundational fabric of the Toronto we know and experience today. Unveiling Heroes is inspired by Camille Turner’s “Black Grange” project and Dan Bergeron’s “Faces of Regent Park”. 

This project is a collaboration between BSAM Canada artists and Dan Bergeron.

What to Expect!

Unveiling Heroes will spur the installation of four (4) public art pieces in various locations across Toronto. The goal is to establish community pride through accessible visual representation that publicly shares and celebrates leaders from the Black community who have left notable, yet sometimes untold, imprints on many lives.

With the support of Heritage Toronto, Unveiling Heroes also includes a virtual map tour that will feature three (3) additional heroes! 

Heroes & Locations

Judge Stanley G. Grizzle

The Mighty Conductor

Stanley G. Grizzle Park

320 Main Street, Toronto, ON

Dr. Rita Cox

The Enchanting Griot

Rita Cox Park

14 Machells Ave, Toronto, ON

Kay Blair

The Generous Beacon

Highfield Park

68 Stevenson Rd, Etobicoke, ON

Lucie & Thornton Blackburn

The Crafty Navigators

David Crombie Park

131 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON

Artists

Adeyemi Adegbesan

popularly known as Yung Yemi, is a Toronto based photographic artist whose practice aims to examine the intersectionality of black identity.

Gerda Boateng

is a Ghanaian Canadian illustrator. She is a self-taught artist with the black women as her subject of choice.

Meighan Morson

is an artist/animator whose work explores concepts of identity, polarity, fantasy/fiction, human consciousness and mental health.

Quentin VerCetty

is a multi-award-winning multidisciplinary storyteller, educator, and Afrofuturist. And winner of the 2020 Joshua Glover Memorial competition.

Objectives

  • Create more visual installations & tributes that depict notable African Canadian figures.
  • Highlight local heroes so residents and youth can take pride and feel empowered through learning and seeing how they are connected to a Canadian legacy narrative.
  • Blend archiving initiatives with innovative art practices to tell legacy narratives in an alternate way.
  • Work to bring public art out of the downtown core and into more areas that are usually neglected or bypassed.

Preview of Kay Blair “The Generous Beacon” by Meighan Morson.

Unveiling Heroes of the Block Release

This Fall 2021!

Opportunity!

We are looking for one (1) artist to complete three (3) digital speculative hero portraits to add onto the Virtual Map Tour for Unveiling Heroes. This contract position will be in partnership with Heritage Toronto.

The ideal candidate will be either an emerging or accomplished artist with experience in illustration and creating work that relates to the speculative arts.

Job Details

  • This is a contract position that will run from the end of October 2021 to the beginning of December 2021.
  • Creation of 3 digital portraits
  • Fee: $3,500 CAD

We are looking for someone who is preferably Toronto-based and Black or Indigenous to align with our mandate of providing opportunities for artists who experience significant marginalization within the arts industries.

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