The State of Blackness Relaunch

Photograph of conference participants smiling and seated in a lecture hall.

The Office of Research and Innovation is pleased to congratulate Dr. Andrea Fatona on the relaunch of her website on scholarship into Black artistic practice and representation, The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation.  

Andrea has been working for years to rectify the absence of Black visual art from “official records”— art critics’ reviews, art archives and other avenues of representation. This initiative is very timely given the current climate of impassioned global protests against pervasive anti-Black racism. Supporting Andrea’s work to raise the profile of Black visual artists in Canada directly connects to the University’s commitment to champion scholarship that presents a fuller picture of the history of art and art makers in Canada.

As Andrea has said, “this resource is about making it clear that we are here and the work is being done. As we try to decolonize spaces, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge artwork by diverse artists.”

The website originally began as a way to document the proceedings of the OCAD U conference organized by Andrea in 2014, The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the two-day event brought together artists, curators and academics to examine the histories, current status and future state of Black diasporic artistic practice and representation in Canada. For Andrea, the event aligned with her broader research interest in inequity in the arts, and how artworks by Black Canadians can reflect more diverse Canadian identities.  

Since the conference, Andrea has been expanding the website’s content to include spin-off projects from the conference: a forum at the 2015 Venice Biennale to build transnational networks for Black Canadian visual artists; a 2017 collaboration with artist-run non-profit video art distributor Vtape to compile data on Black Canadian video production; and a 2020 research residency based at OCAD U that focused on the challenges and possibilities experienced by emerging Black artists from Italy.  

The website includes resources such as essential reading about these issues and Canadian Black-owned bookstores, plus links to accompanying YouTube and Facebook channels. The site’s ongoing development has been financially supported by OCAD U, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Andrea is also pursuing a more comprehensive undertaking: a searchable, web-based, annotated database that includes visual art, analytic essays and research papers, produced by and about, Black Canadian artists, critics and curators from 1989  ̶  when the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was incepted  ̶  to the present.

The above photograph of the conference was taken by Ella Cooper.

Department: 
Photograph of conference participants smiling and seated in a lecture hall.

The Office of Research and Innovation is pleased to congratulate Dr. Andrea Fatona on the relaunch of her website on scholarship into Black artistic practice and representation, The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation.  

Andrea has been working for years to rectify the absence of Black visual art from “official records”— art critics’ reviews, art archives and other avenues of representation. This initiative is very timely given the current climate of impassioned global protests against pervasive anti-Black racism. Supporting Andrea’s work to raise the profile of Black visual artists in Canada directly connects to the University’s commitment to champion scholarship that presents a fuller picture of the history of art and art makers in Canada.

As Andrea has said, “this resource is about making it clear that we are here and the work is being done. As we try to decolonize spaces, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge artwork by diverse artists.”

The website originally began as a way to document the proceedings of the OCAD U conference organized by Andrea in 2014, The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the two-day event brought together artists, curators and academics to examine the histories, current status and future state of Black diasporic artistic practice and representation in Canada. For Andrea, the event aligned with her broader research interest in inequity in the arts, and how artworks by Black Canadians can reflect more diverse Canadian identities.  

Since the conference, Andrea has been expanding the website’s content to include spin-off projects from the conference: a forum at the 2015 Venice Biennale to build transnational networks for Black Canadian visual artists; a 2017 collaboration with artist-run non-profit video art distributor Vtape to compile data on Black Canadian video production; and a 2020 research residency based at OCAD U that focused on the challenges and possibilities experienced by emerging Black artists from Italy.  

The website includes resources such as essential reading about these issues and Canadian Black-owned bookstores, plus links to accompanying YouTube and Facebook channels. The site’s ongoing development has been financially supported by OCAD U, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Andrea is also pursuing a more comprehensive undertaking: a searchable, web-based, annotated database that includes visual art, analytic essays and research papers, produced by and about, Black Canadian artists, critics and curators from 1989  ̶  when the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was incepted  ̶  to the present.

The above photograph of the conference was taken by Ella Cooper.

Department: