‘Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art’ at MMFA

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) through its exhibition “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art” expresses ideas surrounding cultural diversity in Canada. The exhibition, developed by the Royal Ontario Museum, challenges the preconceived notions of Blackness in Canada through the work of eight contemporary artists — Sandra Brewster, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Chantal Gibson, Bushra Junaid, Charmaine Lurch, Esmaa Mohamoud, Michele Pearson, Clarke, and Gordon Shadrach. To this display of works, the MMFA has added the works of three Montreal-based artists —  Eddy Firmin a.k.a. Ano, Manuel Mathieu, and Shanna Strauss. The exhibition will be on view through September 16, 2018.

Through these unique and visually compelling installations, the artists express a multitude of viewpoints on the place of Canadians of African descent and implore viewers to think differently about the deep-rooted histories and enduring presence of Black Canadians.

“While our country is proud of its cultural diversity, it remains little celebrated. We are not immune to stereotypes or a truncated history. Audacious and necessary, the exhibition ‘Here We Are Here,’ to which I wanted to add a Montreal segment, raises several points of view on the length and complexity of our interconnected histories. In it, each artist asserts their rightful place, enriching our common aesthetic imagination,” says Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA.

“‘Here We Are Here: Black Contemporary Canadian Art’ shines the spotlight on the historical and current relevance of Blackness to the Canadian social fabric. Contemporary art allows us to explore perennial questions of race, exclusion and belonging from another angle. This exhibition renounces the idea of a single narrative, it shifts the paradigms and prompts us to unlearn, so that we may have a truer knowledge of our history, the history of art and the production of contemporary art exhibitions in a Canadian context,” adds independent curator Dominique Fontaine.

“These talented artists present works that pay tribute to their forebears, and each of them revisits their own history in connecting with their Montreal reality. In these artworks, innovation marries seamlessly with tradition. The artists offer an up-front look at their world and reality. They poetically invite visitors to view the reality of the Canadian Black community with empathy,” concludes Genevieve Goyer-Ouimette, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky, Curators of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art.

The artworks on display use both current and historical objects that blur the longstanding opinion that the black community belongs on the edge of Canadian history.

The exhibition will be on view through September 16, 2018, at  the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.

Founder: Louise Blouin


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