Local support wanted to commemorate Black History Month

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The Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace are teaming up to observe Black History Month in February by inviting the Chatham-Kent community to contribute to a participatory artwork.

Black History Month has a history all its own. Jean Augustine, who migrated to Canada from Grenada in 1960, became the first Black Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons in 1993. She was appointed to a Cabinet post in 2002. In her position, Jean introduced a motion to declare February as Black History Month, which ultimately passed to become part of our national consciousness.

For centuries, people of African descent have confronted and continue to confront prejudice and inequity. Systemic barriers still prevent full and equal participation in society.

“Almost nine months after George Floyd’s death, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and C-K’s own peaceful march down King Street (in Chatham), we want to keep carrying it forward,” said gallery curator Phil Vanderwall in a media release. “Creativity can help us to confront and overcome our challenges. Art can help us create the world we want to live in and what better way to focus our energies than to join together as a community and participate in a positive vision for 2021?”

“Celebrating Black Lives” is the theme of this digitally based installation. For those who wish to participate, the gallery asks that you complete a work of art on the theme in any media. Feel free to paint, draw, design, or write.

Once complete, photograph your work, and send it to ckartgallery@chatham-kent.ca. Gallery staff will print and assemble the works into a community art “quilt”, and the installation will be on public display in the ARTspace window for the month of February.

A donation will be made for each participating artist involved to support the distribution of the film “The North Star: Finding Black Mecca.”

For more information, visit www.chatham-kent.ca/TAG or www.artspacechathamkent.com and follow us @TAGCK and @ARTspaceCK for updates.

The Thames Art Gallery is located at the Chatham Cultural Centre, 75 William St. N. Chatham. ARTspace is located at 165 ½ King St. Chatham. Please check for hours as pandemic closures are currently in effect.

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