Change Makers:Who are they? What have they done? And why are we honouring them?
All of the above questions were answered and felt at the closing ceremony of “Changemakers” exhibition, an artistic collaboration between Montreal-based mixed media artist Shanna Strauss and fine arts photographer Kevin Calixte. Their breathtaking portraits were made using phototransfer on wood, acrylic, beadwork, woodcutting and woodburning.
The exhibition featured at the MAI (Montreal Arts Interculturels) center was part of the 2016 World Social Forum and featured 6 black phenomenal women of Montreal: Tali Taliwah, Shanice Nicole, Annick Maugile Flavien, Maliciouz, Patricia M Jean and Maguy Métellus.
The night ended on a powerful performance by Teeanna Munroe and Annick Maugile Flavien written by Jess Glavina titled “A Chorus of Unidentified Singers”. The performance explored themes such as the value of women’s work, sacrifices & invisibility. The performance ended on this powerful statement:
“I am the library that holds all the names of all the women, who made history, make history and continue making history.”
To which followed a beautiful interpretation by Maguy Métellus of “Phenomenal woman” by Maya Angelou.
Changemakers is the celebration of black women in Montreal who through their work and community engagement, have enacted and will continue to enact positive change in their communities.
Changemakers is the celebration of their engagement, ingenuity, courage, triumphs, trials, but mostly of their resilience.
Too often, black women’s activism has been minimized, left unnoticed.
Too often, were our voices silenced.
Too often, were our light dimmed.
Too often, were our triumphs reduced to “quotas”, “affirmative action”, our greatness left unacknowledged.
But we hear you, we see you, we applaud you but mostly, we cherish you.
Changemakers is an ode to our #blackgirlmagic.
I commend all changemakers, and cherish you so dearly because, just like the ones before you, you’ve paved the way for black women like me and for those who will be coming after us, and continuously inspire us to bring about positive change in our communities.
To find more about their work:
Shanna Strauss: http://www.shannastrauss.co/
Kevin Calixte: http://thekevincalixte.com/