5 Artists 1 Love Art exhibition is an annual Black History Month extravaganza showcasing the artistic vibrancy and range of Edmonton’s African-Canadian communities, from Angola to Zanzibar, Tobago to Togo, and Barbados to Brazil! It promotes emerging and established artists, develops global African arts and cultures, and celebrates Black excellence.
The signature launch event shines the light on the dynamic beauty of the African diaspora through art, design, music, poetry, and various other forms of live entertainment.
This February 2021, 5 Artists 1 Love celebrates 15 years of bringing Edmonton its unique brand of art and soul. On this 15th year anniversary, the Art Gallery of Alberta has extended its hand in partnership, thus opening the door for us to present our largest exhibit to date! 15 local Black artists (that have been featured in the show in years gone by) have been selected for this show. Due to the scale of the exhibit and the significance of the anniversary, the show will rise from its usual space in the Community Gallery on the lower level to occupying the whole second floor in the main gallery.
Black Every Day
The title of the exhibit is, amongst other things, an invitation. It is a reminder. It is a response. It is a truth.
BLACK EVERY DAY
This exhibition marks the 15th anniversary of 5 Artists 1 Love, an organization dedicated to promoting the vibrancy of Edmonton's African Canadian communities through literary, visual and performing arts. Together with local artists, this organization is committed to creating a home for all means of artistry to flourish in the comfort of its authentic identity. The art presented in Black Every Day is a continuation of this enduring legacy and a celebration of what sits at the heart of the 5 Artists 1 Love platform;
a dedication to showcasing how the intimacy of our everyday Black lives, our resilience, our excellence is deserving of its place on the global stage.
Historically, the annual art show organized by 5 Artists 1 Love is confined to Black History Month in February and is limited to five artists. This anniversary exhibition features 15 artists who show that cultural identity, history, spirit and vision exist every day of the year. While speaking to global anti-racist movements, this exhibition illustrates that Blackness is not a trend but an identity that we celebrate through our lives and art every day. Black Every Day is a culmination of artistic desire dedicated to showcasing the beauty of Black lives and the promise of a world that affirms this truth.
The body of work displayed in this exhibition represents an eclectic group of artists from a variety of backgrounds. Each is at a different stage in their artistic practices and in their lives. Through the exploration of their chosen styles and mediums each has authored a unique worldview. Black Every Day challenges the concept of a homogeneous “Black Community” by exploring its complexities and differences through the lens of individual artists.
5 Artists 1 Love acknowledges that there is a worldwide awakening to the injustices that Black and Brown people have endured for generations, and in response provides a platform for expression and activism for members of the local African diaspora. It is through this platform that we amplify our voices and defend our humanity.
This exhibition is organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and curated by Darren W. Jordan. 5 Artists 1 Love would like to thank TD, Edmonton Community Foundation, and Autism Edmonton for their support.
AJA Louden (AJA sounds like ‘Ajay’, short for Adrian Joseph Alexander) is a muralist, designer and educator working out of Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Born to a family tree with roots split between Jamaica and Canada, Louden is a child of contrast. He grew up in a rural community near a big city, and alternated his time between skateboarding, drawing on things, and feeding goats and horses. Whether it’s his larger than life, detailed, freehand spray-painted portraits, or his work using hand lettering, stylewriting and sign painting to celebrate the beauty of language and the written word, AJA uses painting as a lens through which he may see more clearly, and as a tool to help others be seen.
Santiago - Garneau
Braxton Garneau is an emerging artist from Amiskwaciwâskahikan ‘Edmonton’ on Treaty 6 territory. In 2020, He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in intermedia at the University of Alberta. His practice is rooted in an exploration of familial and collective histories.
Garneau primarily works in painting, installation, and printmaking, often distilling his own research through a combination of these methods. He has participated in several group exhibitions including Nice to Meet You in FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta, 5 Artists 1 Love exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta, and most recently It's About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900 - 1970 and Now at the Mitchell Gallery.
Keon Courtney is a self-taught portrait artist born and raised in Edmonton, AB. He has always had a passion for art but did not start drawing until his late twenties. His passion for portraiture has always been on the forefront of his art journey. He started out as mainly a digital artist but has branched out trying several different mediums; most recently focusing on portraits in charcoal. Keon finds his inspiration in the process of attempting to bring life and soul to his artwork.
My paintings are visual proverbs. Using the figure, still life objects, and landscapes as a means of self-expression, I communicate the cultural heritage and emotions of the places that I come from and the experience of the culture where I live now.
I grew up in a community in Africa where I was not allowed to express my thoughts, concerns, and feelings in public - speaking out had terrible consequences. As a result, I started to express, my anger, frustrations, sense of betrayal, joy and beauty through my paintings, and still do.
The marks that I make with my brushes and charcoal are connected to my feelings, and express and communicate a situation. I depict both ugly realities and joyful feelings through the strokes, and by so doing, address the paradox of human life and my own thoughts and feelings.
Using oil as a medium, I am able to have more layers on the canvas which allows me to capture the experience of having multiple feelings at the same time as well as capture feelings that come in sequence.
My paintings express my feelings of the physical environment around me and the people who live in it, yet, they are not an exclusive presentation of self. Hence, I invite my audience to search for connections to themselves in my paintings, and examine how they relate to themselves and to their surroundings.
Raneece Buddan is a Jamaican Artist residing in Edmonton, Alberta. She completed her BFA in Art and Design at the University of Alberta in 2020. Focusing on painting and sculpture, her work is centered on her cultural identity as a Jamaican woman of African and East Indian descent. She depicts the merging of both cultures with the use of fabric from each. The fabric is used as an additional identifier for who she is, rather than her skin tone as colorism is an issue she noticed within both communities. The importance of hair is also a commonality and a symbol you can find in her work as well.
Her process is based on her research on traditional and contemporary art from each culture. She explores different processes and artists from each as a foundation while doing her own experimentations with materials and mediums. She is interested in combining synthetic and natural materials in a colorful and unconventional way. She finds the figures within the grains of the wood and the mounds of clay where it is stuck between a phase of abstraction and realism; a state of uncertainty. The goal of each piece she creates is to learn more about herself throughout the process.
jay Dontae’s art poetically blurs the line between dreams and reality, hope and despair, nostalgia and futurism, and so on... but beyond that he really just wants to make something beautiful that connects. His distinct style can be noted by his focus on deconstruction and exaggerated distortion of the human form, his vibrant colour palette, and his ability to mesh beauty and menace. Painting, fashion, digital artwork, creative direction, and poetry are just a few of the mediums Dontae uses to convey his vision.
For more on jay Dontae:
Shaihiem Small is an artist currently based in Edmonton, Alberta, originally from Toronto, Ontario. Shaihiem is a MacEwan Fine Arts graduate and has participated in multiple pop up art shows across the city and the group show Five Artists One Love hosted at the AGA. His art explores themes concerning the ethos of cultural identity. Currently this artist is venturing into the discipline of tattooing and is apprenticing at Shambhala Tattoos in Edmonton.
Born in Provost, Alberta, Hollee McKerchar has a lifetime of artistic expression. Throughout her childhood she studied dance, art, and music with a love for drawing and calligraphy. After recently recovering from a decade of chronic migraines, she is currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta.
She gathers her artistic inspiration from her depths of personal experiences, encounters, personal observations, and her vast curiosity. She blends color, words, and imagination to convey, express and spark conversations regarding social-cultural topics into an artistic art expression. Interestingly her first oil painting was spring 2013.
“Interdisciplinary artist” Kanyamashokoro César (Shoko).
His double origins, Rwandan-German, and his five spoken languages give his work a cross cultural and dynamic approach. His work is visually interactive and complimentary with its environment.
Shoko believes to be a true artist, is to be able to see through and beyond what is visible.
In this multidimensional world, cohesion of cultures and thoughts, the exercise of seeing beyond what is superficial becomes an essential civic tool of cohabitation and reconciliation. By using an interpolation of rich colors and shapes, Shoko tries to create harmony and balance in what seems to be out of order. This process is an attempt to engage the viewer to exercise tolerance and see beyond.
His work has won national awards, gained international recognition and has been the subject of several magazines and TV documentaries including: Alberta Venture, Unlimited Magazine (Cover Page) Western Living, Canadian Interiors, and TV5.
Shoko’s work has expended from Visual Art to Public Art Installation, Furniture, Architecture and Product Design, Custom Yacht Design and complex Medical Design Devices.
“Art is a mirror of self that reflects its environment”
My practice examines manifestations of narrative, belonging, colonial legacy and the rendering of the notions of truth. Inspired by the interactions of production of knowledge, artifacts, folk literature, visual culture and how they interact with social constructs and our environment. My practice unfolds new narratives through installation, video, painting and sculpture. The works; Red White & Blue, Mardi Gras, Grandmother and Great Expectations, perform like entries in a journal that contain rituals for reclamation.
Lisa Mayes (b.1975, Edmonton, AB, Canada) born of Acadian, African American, Muscogee Creek, Irish and Scottish heritage lives and works in Montreal. Mayes produces multidisciplinary works about diaspora, the other, place and heritage affected by intergenerational trauma. By situating herself as the storyteller, Mayes effectively reclaims the story and subverts established narratives to make room for the other and welcomes a reimagined place with inclusion. Since the late 1990’s Mayes has been an interdisciplinary artist with a background in theatre, dance and visual arts.
Emily Schouten is a Fashion and Fine Art photographer who was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Emily began her love for photography at a young age when she commandeered her father's Minolta Maxxum 7000. She made her start in high school as one of the school's 2 sports photographers. Following high school, she dove into internships and work experience while studying English and Anthropology at Grant MacEwan. She then went on to complete NAIT’s Photographic Technology Program. During her study she completed many internships with local fashion and editorial photographers. Her final internship took place in New York City where she finalized her thesis with the help of her mentor.
Her latest project is a study on the 1972 Yamaha LS2 that was rebuilt by her husband shot on 35mm film. Her photography has been shown at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Scott Gallery, Latitude 53 Gallery, Garneau Theatre, The Citadel Theatre, and Augustana U of A Campus.
Emily is an avid travel enthusiast and always carries a 35mm camera on vacation. She enjoys solo road trips and getting lost in a new place. She is a classically trained pianist, a foodie, and a gamer.
Richard lived in Amber Valley, Athabasca as a youth, moved to Edmonton and has settled in St. Albert since 1973.
When viewing a painting by Richard you will be visually captivated by the emotional vitality of his work. Whatever the medium, the celebration of the rich history of his African Canadian heritage is clearly reflected.
Lipscombe’s careful attention to detail conveys the subject’s expressions through his fluid brushstrokes and painting technique and provides an uplifting experience for the viewer. Although a naturally gifted artist Lipscombe continued his study of painting and design at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC, and spent a summer in Europe touring and admiring the works of the masters.
Of his paintings, Lipscombe says, "When I am painting or drawing any subject, my strength comes from bringing the emotions of each subject to life. I am thankful each day for the gift I was given to be able to then transfer that emotion to a simple piece of paper or empty canvas.”
"Lipscombe is married to Monica, a fellow artist and they are parents to three adult children and six grandchildren."
Art as Experience
Judy BL Robinson came of age in Grenada witnessing the tumultuous upheaval of her country’s cultural revolution. Those experiences were pivotal in shaping her social consciousness and sense of community. Grenada ingrained her with an unshakable belief in humanity and our potential for greatness. She is a mother of three young adults and selflessly anchors numerous local non-profit organizations as a volunteer and/or board member. Her interest in art has been a captivating and ever evolving passion. As an avid appreciator and patron of the arts, as well as an entrepreneurial and fiercely independent spirit, it only seems natural that she would follow her passion for art as a career!
From a young naiveté on the beaches of Grenada or marching for human rights, to a successful curator a world apart, to her most recent evolution as creator … Robinson’s artistic expression has evolved with all her passions. Her current art is an expression of her experiences that are meant to symbolize the increasingly complex, nuanced, and abstract interpretation of the world: the universal metamorphosis we all experience to varying degrees as we move through life.
Robinson’s paintings are bold and audacious without pretention. They all evolve from a black canvas. It is her intention to honor her African Heritage inviting the spirit of the ancestors to guide her in articulating the idea of each work of art and its story. She strives to understand and educate through color and symbolism.
Telling stories from time immemorial to include biblical times and today are important aspects of our human existence and critical to species survival. Robinson strongly believes that art and storytelling is vital to our reservoir of specie data and propagation. And, not unlike the church, her art emulates this idea and contemplates the relationship of the natural world and the sublime. Her art is not just to be admired and idolized … it is an experience.
Robinson is very comfortable with abstract painting to make sense of her world and experiences. For her it is one of reflection and renewal. It is a deep understanding of a complex yet subtle interface of her inner and outer world. Her art is unapologetic and nonconforming in attitude as it offers a fresh take on familiar experiences.
Her thoughts manifested in abstract art are provocative as well as spiritual … intoxicating even. Robinson’s art explores the fascinating complexity of the human condition, especially the psychological implications of slavery. She insists that slavery is a purely commercial initiative meant to generate huge profits at minimal cost. It has been the foundation of all empires throughout recorded history. This practice will certainly reappear without a profound shift in our values as consumers and co-creators.
Trevor ‘CURLY’ Peters
Trevor ‘CURLY’ Peters is a self taught Jamaican/Cree Canadian artist who divides his practice between graffiti art and fine art. In 1994 Peters was introduced to spray painting and immediately connected to the mystical lifestyle of leaving his mark in the dark. Those primitive styles and ways have now evolved over time with Peters having painted hundreds of pieces in cities all around the world. His main inspirations come from New York graffiti pioneers such as Dondi White and Rammellzee while he also connects to the classic work of Salvador Dali and Picasso. Now 26 years later he remains an active graffiti writer with one foot in traditional New York style and the other in a loose, experimental, abstract expression. As he manages both practices differently it is his intention to emulate the energy of his street paintings in his work as a fine artist. This energy applied to canvas is a portal into the textures of Peters experiences traveling and painting around the world. As he slowly transitions into the world of fine art he will always remain connected to his roots and time spent creating in the streets.
In 2016 Peters launched Rust Magic International Street Mural Festival with partner Annaliza Toledo. Rust Magic is a grassroots initiative with the intent to create a more vibrant aesthetic in the streets of their hometown Edmonton. Working with local and international artists, the project has gained significant adulation from the global street art community. The murals have added a new interactive texture to Edmonton that viewers are experiencing with great enthusiasm. As of 2020 The festival has seen the creation of 60 incredible murals by some of the leading artists in the industry. By hosting artist talks and events, Peters and Toledo are able to advocate on behalf of their movement with an authentic perspective and raw passion. Having built a strong network through years of painting and travelling, Peters is humbled by the support he has gained from his peers. Now in this new role as festival producer, curator and visionary it is his mission to give back to his community and properly translate the culture to a wider audience.
ARTISTS IN CONVERSATION
Join us April 24th at 3:00pm MST for a virtual conversation with 'Black Every Day' artists; muralist AJA Louden and painter Judy BL Robinson, with curator Darren W. Jordan as they discuss this year’s exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta. This dynamic conversation will give you an in-depth understanding of two artists in the exhibition while exploring the greater themes present from the perspective of the curator. Register to save your spot and come join the conversation as we dive into what it means to be a part of the ever growing 5 Artist 1 Love community!