Taylor Denton | Contributor
Featured Image: Anique Jordan is an award recipient, writer, photographer, and art curator. | Liz Ikiriko
Anique Jordan is a name that people, especially York students, should become familiar with. She’s a Toronto Art Council Emerging Artist award recipient, writer, photographer, and art curator. She has been featured at the Art Gallery of York, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), and other major galleries across Canada.
On January 25, Anique held a groundbreaking event at the AGO where she invited 100 Black women and gender non-conforming artists to gather for Feast, an event at the center of the institution. This feast was a celebration of the Black female artists whose artistic contributions and presence are often ignored and erased in the Canadian art canon.
Anique has been a creative person all her life. She was surprised that she won an end-of-the-year art award in elementary school. It never dawned on her that art could be considered a profession and one that she would later pursue.
She studied international development in her undergrad and previously worked as the coordinator for Excalibur’s Black History Month supplement. It wasn’t until she began pursuing her MA in environmental studies that she started to consider art as a career. She began to ask questions about her subject that couldn’t be answered. She was encouraged to think of those answers in an artistic way.
At first, her family didn’t know what to make of her artistic aspirations. “When I bought my first camera, I had to hide it from my mom,” Anique says. Her mother thought it was a waste of money. There is a lack of representation of Black female artists whose crafts are not often made visible. This erasure can make it difficult for Black families to accept art as a professional practice.
Anique’s family began to accept her artistic path when her work began to get recognized, validated, and awarded with responses from the community.
When creating, Anique thinks about her responsibilities as an artist. She states that she did not come here alone, and that she is compelled to remember that her life as an artist is a privilege.
Anique says her art reflects the people who live through the conditions that she is trying to understand. Through her interpretation and her vision, spectators get a glimpse of her world and what she has successfully portrayed.
To garner inspiration and to better understand her identity as a Black Canadian of Trinidadian background, Anique has visited Trinidad and Tobago. She has also visited historically significant sites across Canada where Black communities have once resided and continue to reside.
From there, she found her drive to showcase through photography and visual arts—portraying how Black people create their lives. She is deeply tied to her community, not only in Trinidad, but in Toronto as well. “The things that we are producing as artists come from somewhere,” Anique explains.
She continues to make meaningful art and find multiple ways to represent the questions about the Black communities that remain unanswered. Anique is a trailblazer and the example of a Black professional artist she wish she had growing up.
For those who want to support Jordan in her work, she is having her first solo show coming up as part of a CONTACT Photography Festival at Zalucky Contemporary called Ban yah’ belly, and she is also producing new work as an artist-in-residence at Osgoode Law School.