Xpressions: Part 1

(Designed by Marsha Joseph)

Affrica Odessa Spence

Painting

Bio: With roots in Calgary, Alberta, hopes and curiosity took Affrica from western Canada to Montreal, then Toronto. All smirks and smiles, this second-generation woman loves hard when it comes to family, friends, and art. Be it painting, video work, design, or poetry, Affrica has always had a need to express. Painting — in particular — has been a self-taught passion, which has allowed the artist a platform to explore their identity, femininity, and Blackness. | Website

Painting: ‘Afloat’

Description: “My art is inspired by the art of photography and even further the art of real Black women — the parts of them I see in myself. The meaning of ‘Afloat’? Short answer is cliché. It is literally keeping one’s head above water. Slightly drowning, yet somehow floating. I have dealt with a large degree of mental health challenges and unlike so many who never snap out of their ocean, I have managed to — by the grace of some being (maybe god) — find my way back to a body that is still floating. She is not kicking and screaming. She is afloat. Ready for the reality that the drowning is possible. Life owes you no saving. But I am basking in the parts of me, neck up, that are taking in sun, air, life. I am still amongst the living and for that I am grateful. So, the long answer summed up is gratitude. Voila!”


Emmanuel Ashun

Photography

Bio: Emmanuel Ashun is a 22-year-old photographer and graphic designer from Mississauga, Ontario. Focusing on portraiture in a lot of his photographic work, Emmanuel strives to tell stories and capture intimate moments through the faces of his subjects. Instagram | Portfolio

Submission 1: “Bite”, 2019
Description: “I knew I wanted to edit these photos in black and white to focus on the expressions of the face. The puzzled, yet determined, expression coupled with the stark contrast allows the viewer to create a story.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Submission 2: “Royce”, 2019
Description: “This photo also focuses heavily on the eyes. I tried to capture an individual in more than one moment in time, almost as to reveal the multiple aspects of one’s personality.”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Delali Cofie

Photography & Videography

Bio: Delali Cofie is a Ghanaian-Nigerian fine arts photographer living in Toronto, Canada. Pursuing a BFA at OCAD University, Delali is currently interested in exploring art through mixed media. His work is inspired by the human experience, both from his and those around him. Instagram | Website

Description: “My work, ‘The Dance at Midnight’, presents the story of my insomniac experience as a site-specific performance. Detailed in three layers of alteration, the subject was photographed in my bedroom in poses that overtly demonstrated discomfort and weariness. It is a multi-layered alteration, which embodies my fragmented experience. Photographed and recorded on black and white film, the work has a texturized glum look in which all the elements are in constant movement, juxtaposing the stillness of the images themselves — ironically mimicking my unsuccessful search for rest.”


Sagal Muse

Digital Art

Bio: Sagal Muse is a Toronto-based social media and community manager, illustrator, and the founder of Muse Avenue, a community driven digital magazine where modest fashion meets ambitious lifestyle. Growing up, Sagal was always interested in anything that fuelled her creative side, whether that was painting, blogging, or creating collages on photoshop. Today her passion lies in infusing her artistic capabilities with building, growing, and empowering diverse and inclusive communities. Instagram | Website | Digital Magazine

Submission 1: “Black Muslim Queen”

Description: “Growing up, I spent so much time drawing inspiration from mainstream magazines that I didn’t realize I was subconsciously gravitating towards illustrating women that did not look like me. I would always pick fair colours to paint in skin tones and never once thought to draw a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, because I internalized what ‘beautiful’ and ‘acceptable’ meant in this society —  and it didn’t include us. 

“In the past couple of years, and especially in the height of everything going on in 2020, my aim has been to put out art that reflects everything that represents me and the Black Muslim women around me. This is the first piece that I created to showcase a Black Muslim woman admiring her own reflection in the mirror and adjusting her ‘crown’.”

Submission 2: “Black Women in Luxury”

Description: “In this piece I wanted to showcase in the simplest way, ‘Black Women in Luxury,’ while celebrating those with Vitiligo, a skin condition where the skin loses its pigment cells. As someone who rarely sees herself in art, my aim with all of my pieces is to celebrate those who are highly underrepresented and typically scrutinized by the Western ideology of what is and isn’t considered beautiful. 

“To me, vitiligo is artistic and perfectly unique, and so my aim was to highlight its beauty while taking on the theme of luxury within the Black female community. While illustrating this piece, that theme was in discussion on social media amongst Black women, especially from an angle of what that looks like for us. With this illustration, I wanted to capture the simplicity of luxury and to me that meant self-care, self-love, and a whole lot of gold jewelry.” 

About the Author

Avatar

By Kaela Tenn

Contributor

Interested in becoming a contributor? Check out our Get Involved Page

Topics

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments