By Lidia Abraha, p
Posted on March 25, 2021
In the exhibit, artists of the Afro-diaspora explore the Black experience in this current political moment
TORONTO, (March 23, 2021) – Union is proud to announce its partnership with Nia Centre, a Toronto-based charitable organization that supports and showcases Black art. Union will be the hub for the Here Again, At the Crossroads sponsored by TD exhibition curated by Alicia Hall, Executive Director of Nia Centre. The exhibit brings together three contemporary artists to present and explore what it means to be at a literal and proverbial “crossroads.”
With global racial uprisings and the outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in North America and beyond, this exhibition encourages audiences to have a deep connection with the work.
“This exhibit isn’t going to provide answers, but rather it poses questions, and encourages people to think: about where we are as a society, to reflect on their role in racial injustice,” says Alica Hall, Curator and Executive Director of Nia Centre for the Arts.
Artists Andre D. Wagner, Jayda Marley, and Jordan Sook will be showcasing their unique perspectives through a variety of disciplines including photography, poetry, and sculpture, respectively.
Jordan Sook (@jordansook), a Toronto-based mixed media artist, whose extensive body of work includes paintings, sculptures, and installations. For the exhibit, he’s created an installation entitled Thank You for Keeping Us On Track, which pays tribute to the Black Canadian train porters who formed the first Black railway union in North America in 1917. The 15 ft sculpture comprises handcrafted hats that are inspired by those worn by the porters. The piece is symbolic of not only the number of porters, but also demonstrates their unity and success in pushing for change in the labor force.
The exhibit also features work from acclaimed Queer Afro-Indigenous poet of Ojibwe and Jamaican descent, Jayda Marley, also known as The Poet MJ (@thepoetmj). The Poet MJ’s, A Ticket to the Revolution, was written to challenge the idea of what freedom for Black people really means. The current crossroads inspired The Poet MJ to write about how one day we can all create the utopia of our dreams and live freely without the rules and restrictions of a modern-day capitalist world. The poetry will be displayed along the panels of the West Wing in Union Station.
Prolific Brooklyn-based photographer Andre D. Wagner (@photodre), whose work has been commissioned by Vogue, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine and more, will have a collection of his images featured as part of the exhibition. The three striking black and white photos highlight the tug of war between the American dream and what it means to be Black in America. Andre’s images are rooted in a universal humanity, providing a viewpoint of relatable Black culture. This will be the first time that Andre’s work is exhibited in Canada.
Originally slated to open in February as part of Union Station’s Black History Month programming, the art installation was impacted due to the ongoing lockdown measures in Ontario. With the recently lifted non-essential work measures, the install can resume with the unveiling set for March 23rd. While Black History Month has passed, the lived experiences, creativity, art, and contributions of Black people should be acknowledged and celebrated every day; Here Again, At The Crossroads is helping to amplify the voices and stories of the Black community well beyond the month of February.
The exhibition is a strong demonstration Union’s ongoing dedication to reflecting the diversity of Canadians through multidisciplinary programming. Currently, Union encourages commuters who pass through the station to visit the exhibition in person. However, a special microsite has been developed so that anyone, even those outside of Toronto, can experience the exhibit safely once it launches on March 23rd.
“Nia Centre’s creative and cultural vision aligns with our mandate of celebrating creativity, diversity and inclusion through our free arts and cultural events,” says Syma Shah, executive director of programming for Union. “While we have been challenged in how we can physically present exhibitions, we have been able to adapt and showcase the thought-provoking work through our microsite. Being able to work with an exceptional partner like Nia Centre, we have a unique opportunity to build awareness of the contributions, history and stories from Black communities. We are honoured to provide a platform to promote the artists and help them reach new audiences.”
The exhibit would also not have been possible without the support of TD Bank Group which is committed to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. A partner since 2016, TD supports the arts and diversity programming at Union Station with a continued commitment to help create a more equitable tomorrow for all.
The exhibit launches March 23, 2021 and will run in-station and online until May 31, 2021.
Find more info at torontounion.ca/hereagaincrossroads
Alicia Hall | Exhibit Curator | Twitter and Instagram | @Al_ik_ca
With more than 300,000 daily visitors, Union Station is Canada’s busiest transit hub. Through its curation of retail and culinary tenants, cultural programming and partnership activations, Union strives to be one of the world’s most engaging civic experiences. Union is committed to reflecting the diversity of Canadians through our multidisciplinary programming vision. Union celebrates creativity, diversity and inclusion through free arts and cultural events that showcase the best of Toronto.
About Nia Centre
Nia Centre for the Arts is a Toronto-based non-profit dedicated to promoting, showcasing and preserving Afro-diasporic art. Since 2009, Nia Centre has created meaningful cultural, artistic experiences rooting in Black traditions. In 2020, the Centre launched construction to transform their facility into Canada’s first professional Black arts centre.
TD is committed to enriching the lives of its Customers, Colleagues and Communities. This purpose guides everything we do and our continued commitment to helping create a more equitable tomorrow for all. We are coming together at a time in which Black people and allies around the globe are questioning whether the protests of last summer inspired lasting change. While we have made many important steps over the years, we must do more.
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