Members of the Black Wimmin Artists advisory committee pose at The Feast, the group’s first gathering hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario on January 25, 2019. (Back Row L-R) Ojo, Sadora, Kosi, Anique, Najla, Raven (Front Row) Setti., Featured Image
TORONTO — January 25, 2019 marked a shift in Canadian art history. Black Wimmin Artists (BWA) organized a gathering of 100 Black women, non-binary artists, and cultural workers gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario for a dinner party. It is customary for museums to host private cocktail parties and dinners as a way to attract donors or to generate autonomous revenues. Black Canadians, however, are rarely in the mix.
Historically, exhibitions on Black artistic perspective are often anthropological or didactic, presented as a way to learn about a people rather than learning from them. Toronto remembers the exhibition Into the Heart of Africa (1989) at the Royal Ontario Museum, in which photographs and objects from the museum’s collection were insensitively put on display, provoking protests. In 2016, the ROM apologized for contributing to anti-African racism.