Moving Forward, Looking B(l)ack: Visual Art in Nova Scotia

A panel discussion featuring women who curate, create, and activate.

With Pamela Edmonds, Lucie Chan, Bria Miller, and Jade Peek.
Facilitated by Sylvia Hamilton.

Friday, October 13, 2017 at 7:00pm
Halifax North Memorial Library,
2285 Gottingen Street, Halifax
Doors open at 6:30pm. Refreshments will be served. No ticket required.

Presented by Visual Arts Nova Scotia, in partnership with Nocturne: Art at Night, this panel features Black/ Afro-Indigenous/ African Nova Scotian women: Pamela Edmonds, Lucie Chan, Jade Peek, and Bria Miller discussing their practice and experience in the visual arts in Nova Scotia, in a conversation facilitated by Sylvia Hamilton.

Despite there being many talented Black artists and curators in and from Nova Scotia, resources, access to and public knowledge about their contributions to Nova Scotia’s visual arts are limited. This panel hopes to build on and celebrate the knowledge of Black/ Afro-Indigenous/ African Nova Scotian women who are creating, curating and activating in the visual arts.

This event comes out of archival research done by Research Coordinator Chris Shapones for the 40th anniversary of Visual Arts Nova Scotia, which has existed and published Atlantic Canada’s only visual art magazine, Visual Arts News, for 40 years.

The title for the panel “Moving Forward, Looking B(l)ack” is from Pamela Edmonds’ Black Body: Race, Resistance, Response (Halifax, 2001).

The organisers would like to acknowledge that the event is being hosted on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq peoples.This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

The organisers would also like to acknowledge the Land Titles Clarification Act that was passed in 1963 finally giving ownership of thirteen specific communities within Nova Scotia land to families of Black Loyalist that was promised by the crown in the 1800’s in return for their military service.


Special thanks to our funders and sponsors: Nocturne, Halifax Libraries, NSCAD University: Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture, and the Province of Nova Scotia.


More on the panelists:

Pamela Edmonds is a visual and media arts curator interested in developing projects that focus on contemporary art and the politics of representation. Her work also explores the impact of Black diasporic cultures on the evolving geography of global contemporary art. She began her curatorial career in Halifax beginning in the late 1990’s, presenting exhibitions at galleries including Anna Leonowens Gallery, Dalhousie Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and has worked with grassroots collectives such as the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia and Sistervisions, which focused on Black feminism and creativity. Pamela is currently based in Chatham, Ontario where she is Curator of the Thames Art Gallery. More of her work can be viewed at www.pe-curates.space.

Guyana-born Lucie Chan lives in Vancouver. She spent 10 years in Halifax developing trans-disciplinary drawings, and recently introduced written/performative elements to her practice. She has had solo exhibitions at venues such as AGNS and the Mount Saint Vincent Art Gallery, and one upcoming at KWAG in 2018. She has shown across Canada, notably at OBORO, TRUCK, Richmond Art Gallery, Foreman Art Gallery, and the National Gallery. She was also long-listed for the Sobeys Art Award in 2005 and 2010. She has completed local and international residencies while continuing to develop her art on a regular basis in the Canada.

Jade Peek is a 22 year old, Urban Mi’kmaq and Black Afro-Indigenous Nova Scotian Woman of Trans Experience. She is a multi-disciplinary artist, curator, and facilitator, currently finishing her Undergraduate Degree in Art History and Critical Studies focusing on Black and Indigenous pedagogical methodologies, social criticism, and art production at NSCAD University. She has extensive experience in working with BIPOC community and the national student movements. Jade is proud to have been involved in introducing the RISE summit, and is blessed to have been there for the second summit with all the amazing leaders from across this country. Jade aims to continue the work of her ancestors and predecessors, break down the barriers that Racialized and Indigenous peoples have to face on a systemic and individual level, and all femmes who experience oppression. #staywoke #Kesalul

Born in Yarmouth and now living in the North End of Halifax, Bria Miller describes herself as a Queer, Black, Indigenous mixed media visual artist, activist and musician. She works as a graphic facilitator and a youth arts educator, leading workshops across Nova Scotia that encourage the honesty of those participating. Bria believes in the importance of spaces where racialized and LGBTQ* artists can create together, find support and access to explore their self-expression, and mould the platforms that allow their individual voices to be heard. She is working to organize a shared art space to center and amplify these beautiful and crucially important voices that often face erasure, whitewashing, or are outright neglected by our institutions and therefore society.

Sylvia D. Hamilton is a multi awarding Nova Scotian filmmaker and writer who is known for her documentary films as well as her publications, public presentations and extensive volunteer work with artistic, social and cultural organizations on the local and national levels. She was born in Beechville, Nova Scotia, a community founded by the Black Refugees from the War of 1812. She has a BA from Acadia University, an MA from Dalhousie University and has been awarded three honourary degrees in recognition of her work. From 2001- 2004 she held Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She has taught at Acadia University and given lectures at the University of New Brunswick, Memorial, Queens, York and Simon Fraser universities, and at Middlebury College in Vermont, and the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

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