The Inspiring Speakers Series 2021 is moderated by visual artist, community organizer and social activist Nura Ali, in conversation with interdisciplinary artist and educator Deanna Bowen and Dr. Karina Vernon Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Bowen and Vernon will virtually discuss their individual research-based practices, and use of archives to confront false narratives about Black people’s presence in the prairies and throughout Canada, as well as the erasure of Black people from Canadian History.
In celebration of Black History and to promote the Inspiring Speaker Series, the Luke Lindoe Library collaborated with the Illingworth Kerr Gallery to distribute a reading list curated by visual artist, community organizer and social activist Nura Ali. Every Friday the Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG) and the Library released four (4) titles on the library web site, in the Friday Flyer, the Bulletin, and on the IKG Instagram @ikg_auarts.
*Register to attend and receive the zoom link here on Eventbrite.
Nura Ali is a visual artist, community organizer and social activist, living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Her multidisciplinary practise engages issues of memory, place building, displacement and power. Nura is committed to community oriented organising and for this reason became one of the founding members of the Vancouver Artists Labour Union, a unionized workers cooperative with a mission to transform labour practices within the arts and cultural sector. Nura is deeply invested in strategies to dismantle oppressive structures and is keenly motivated to create welcoming, inclusive and equitable spaces in the art world.
Deanna Bowen is a descendant of two Alabama and Kentucky born Black Prairie pioneer families from Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. Bowen’s family history has been the central pivot of her auto-ethnographic interdisciplinary works since the early 1990s. She makes use of a repertoire of artistic gestures in order to define the Black body and trace its presence and movement in place and time. In recent years, her work has involved close examination of her family’s migration and their connections to Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley and Black Strathcona, the “All-Black” towns of Oklahoma, the Kansas Exoduster migrations and the Ku Klux Klan in Canada and the US. She is a recipient of a 2020 Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts Award, a 2018 Canada Council Research and Creation Grant, an Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant in 2017, a 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and the 2014 William H. Johnson Prize. Her writing, interviews and art works have been published in Canadian Art, The Capilano Review, The Black Prairie Archives, and Transition Magazine. Bowen is editor of the 2019 publication Other Places: Reflections on Media Arts in Canada.
Dr. Karina Vernon is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough where she researches and teaches in the areas of Canadian and Black Canadian literature, Black aesthetics, archives, critical pedagogy, and Black-Indigenous solidarities. She is editor of The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2020 and a forthcoming companion volume, Critical Readings in the Black Prairie Archives.