Borelson: “My artistic journey started with a leap of faith”

By Lidia Abraha, p
Posted on September 28, 2020

Toronto’s art scene can be hard to navigate. Especially considering the lack of space, resources and funding opportunities for Black creatives to cultivate and grow as artists. This is what laid the foundation for “ThisFAR” a docuseries by Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Borelson.

Before arriving in Toronto a few years ago, Borelson spent his formative years in Gabon, Congo, and then moved to France in his teen years. As a newcomer with no family connections or support system in Canada, Borelson was able to build connections, and secure a grant from the City of Toronto for his first album “As Far As Eye Can See.” 

“My artistic journey started with a leap of faith… I didn’t come this far to only come this far,” he said.

Episode 22 of ThisFAR with multi-disciplinary artist Quentin Vercetty.

Although music is his main medium, Borelson has started a new venture into documentary making. Earlier this year, he launched “ThisFAR,” a docuseries that gives a platform to creatives of colour—mostly first generation or immigrants— to share their story and how they’ve overcome obstacles on their way to success. 

“The word successful can be very subjective, but to me, these are people who have had a tangible impact in the community or even beyond the community,” he said.

Whether it’s in music, writing or cooking, Borelson says this series is like a gift to the creative community that has helped and supported him since he arrived. 

Through intimate one-on-one talks, audience members get a chance to see how hard work, dedication and confidence build artists success. ThisFAR brings a fresh voice to how Black artists contribute to the cultural tapestry of our city, featuring high-profile names like Randell Adjei, Kiana “Rookz” Eastmond, and Chef Jean-Regis. 

“I want to show people they shouldn’t stick to what society expects you to be, but go for what you really believe in, go for what you really want to do. If there’s someone already doing that, great, maybe you can get some inspiration, and if not, you can be the first.”

As the first season comes to an end, Borelson hopes to bring this series to a wider audience in major cities across Canada. Recognizing that xenophobia is becoming more prevalent across the globe, he hopes ThisFAR could show how immigrants make a positive and lasting impact in their communities through art. 

“[Our stories] are a catalyst to improve human relationships and I think that’s what I can share and that’s what I was trying to do in this docuseries.”

Watch ThisFAR here, and follow Borelson on Instagram

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