Black Creek Storytelling Parade exhibition opens tonight

Photographs of water in its many forms – from a brother’s tears to a reflection in a puddle – are just some of the works being shown as part of the Art Gallery of York University’s (AGYU) Black Creek Storytelling Parade exhibition.

The exhibit opens tonight with a reception from 5 to 7pm in the AGYU lobby, Accolade East Building, Keele campus, and runs until March 29. It features photographs produced by youth artists from the Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club during the Black Creek Storytelling Parade program last fall, once again led by community artists Liz Forsberg and Laura Reinsborough in partnership with the AGYU.

Left: Untitled, 2008, a work by youth artist Brittany Asiamah

The exhibition also features a three-channel video installation inspired by artist Carla Zaccagnini’s double-channel video Duas Margens (Two Margins, 2003 and 2005). Extending Zaccagnini’s investigation of differing coastal perspectives of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, these Toronto-based works provide a local iteration of this Brazilian artist’s interest in similarities and differences. The youth artists documented the Black Creek watershed (south of Finch Avenue), the Humber River as it empties into Lake Ontario and footage of water flowing from the Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club’s kitchen tap.

The photos also explore the artists’ encounters with water in their daily environments, including an aquarium, kitchen and bathroom sinks, plumbing pipes, water fountains, rain boots and sidewalks after a rainfall. Several of the photographs also document the celebratory parade to Black Creek in October, which celebrated the creek as well as the art produced by the youth throughout the five-week program.

In the spirit of Zaccagnini’s art practice, the work was created collaboratively between youth artists Brittany Asiamah, Sharlene Boateng, Latisha Geddes, Lechateau Geddes, Ivie John, Nicky John, Shazzya Mitchell, Niasha Slocombe, Kaiyanna Thompson-Spence and community artists Forsberg and Reinsborough.

Over 50 members and staff from the Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club attended the fall parade which included a youth dance performance choreographed by Damian “Shizzle” Hughes, the Jane and Finch Boys & Girls Club in-house choreographer. As well, Gaspar Horvath of the Black Creek Conservation Project spoke about his organization’s efforts to engage in the environmental restoration of the watershed. With shovels in hand, a group led by Horvath planted a number of native trees to further the naturalization of this community habitat.

The AGYU is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.