Diaspora and Shame: Stories Under my Tongue

By Anne-Audrey Remarais

my tongue

moving in different ways




left, right

the way it moves around

dances around, in my mouth

the choreography initiated by you


sustained by me

under the umbrella of shame

shame building stages where my tongue can dance,

where my tongue can be showcased,

outside of me.

there is no chain tying up my tongue.

at my own mercy,

i carry this shame in my tongue,

in the way it moves to please you,

in the way it awkwardly dances in my mother tongue,

in the way i stop the dance when the lights are on,

lit by my mother,

lit by my father.

how hurtful is it to see the pain in your eyes when our tongues don’t move at the same rhythm.

how hurtful is it to see the pride in your eyes when our tongues move at the same rhythm.

Caribbean Sea. The Ayiti they don’t showcase. View from the 500 steps in Koto.

Growing up in Montreal, when I was a teenager, I would always feel at home with friends of colour, especially Haitian friends, with whom I felt I could relate even deeper. We would laugh at some of our parents mannerisms. When we spoke French, we would throw in Kreyol words. When I would return to my parents’ house, I would hide that side of me. Responding to my parents in French only, ashamed my tongue would twist in the wrong ways. I felt in between worlds, not Canadian enough, not Haitian enough. Internally struggling as I proudly said I was Haitian, only out of my home. I was looking for my place.

My parents immigrated to Canada for different reasons. My mom came from Haiti as a teenager for better educational opportunities while my father came as a young adult to escape the Haitian Duvalier dictatorship at the time. They left behind their homeland, families, friends, culture and lifestyles. They had to start fresh, relearn everything, and face new forms of racism.

Road in between my dad’s family house and my sister’s house, in Kanperen, Ayiti.

I say all this because I carry their stories within me as I navigate this world to create my own stories. My dad would tell me how as a young adult he never knew if he would be able to come back home as a lot of young folks were getting arrested, kidnapped, or killed by soldiers. He never realized how his life was holding on to a thread until he stepped foot in Canada. My mom actually never went back, after 44 years, feeling the pressure of the shame to have abandoned her country and the trauma to come back to a homeland that doesn’t feel like home anymore. My interests have an origin. An origin of struggle. As a child of diaspora, navigating my identity has never been easy. Always on a search to define who I am and who I am not, caught in-between two worlds, and sometimes more. Going against whoever comes to bash Haiti and its beautiful people. Stuttering when people ask me where are you from? No but, really?

I went to Haiti last summer for the second time, accompanied by my father. The purpose of the trip was to learn about Haitian drumming, research locals’ beliefs and practices around Voodoo spirituality, and reconnect with the land and the people, especially family members. The challenges that surfaced on this trip shed light on how I was romanticizing Haiti and my connection to it. I was thinking about all the beautiful moments I would living without any obstacle; the food, the music, the conversations. But trying to fit in my ancestors’ homeland is a process that takes time, and the privileges I hold as a Canadian-born body blur my identity. When a family conflict happened in Haiti, I knew I had a ticket to leave and go back to Canada eventually. I have the privilege of mobility. Another struggle was also questioning, and being ashamed of questioning, relationships; wondering if they’re sincere or if people are simply expecting gifts, an access to migrate to Canada, or money, in exchange. Heartbreaking. I don’t blame them, nor myself, I blame all the –isms, the systems exploiting our land, people and resources. Migration, whether forced or chosen, always has some deeper implications relating to colonialism, imperialism, racism, capitalism, and/or all other oppressive –isms.

Avocado tree in my family’s backyard planted by my grandfather I never met. It is over 50 years old, having provided avocados to 3 generations and counting.

I didn’t choose where I was born, I didn’t physically migrate from one place to another, but my ancestors did, my parents did. This movement is in my blood. Carrying their stories, also means carrying their trauma. Even when it manifests in different ways. Ashamed of the way my tongue dances between languages, the journey continues. I leave shame behind, as I commit to compassionately allow myself to use the language that was so beautifully crafted by my ancestors.

Family of chickens living freely in my family’s backyard.

Throughout my stay in Haiti, I realized what drew my attention a lot was nature, whether it was the actual land, animals, the sky or families of chickens, banana trees, kabrits, and the list goes on. This attraction taught me a lot about my search for connection, with my own people, whatever that looks like, and with the land of my ancestors which links me to a deeper aspect of my identity. Becoming aware of this longing, I see now how it translates to all aspects of my life; the friendships that became the extended family I never had access to, my community and art interests. For me, it’s seeing how existential questions relate to my communities, where I create & sustain safer spaces for/with my communities, exploring roots and traumas, and always wanting to learn about the stories that make up someone’s life. What stories hold the foundation of the ground on which you stand?


Anne-Audrey is a black queer woman of Haitian descent, 2nd generation. The layers of her identity are explored through the art that she creates and the community she strives to be a part of and build. The main themes being diaspora identity, healing, land, queerness, trauma, and migration, and how they all interact with one another. She loves creating, whether it be theatre, djembe drumming, poetry, or cooking; trying to break the boxes she was taught to exist in. Channeling her self-discovery journey is a healing and revolutionary act where she reclaims the power of authoring her own narrative. Currently based in Montreal, she studies Performance Creation at Concordia University, and facilitates i woc up like dis: self-discovery, a workshop series for women of color, using theatre and photography for healing and transformation. @findinglyfe_

Inbetweenness: A Reflection of “Living in the Third Space”

By Janet Tran

In May of 2017, I exhibited my thesis work, “Living in the Third Space” at OCAD University’s 102nd Graduate Exhibition. As my installation loops through its audio and lighting sequence, it draws viewers into the room like flies to UV lamps. Viewers find themselves suddenly immersed in a staged bedroom where clips play from interviews of Asian identifying individuals sharing stories of racially charged experiences.

“Living in the Third Space” is a media installation that narrates the state of being in-between cultural identities experienced by Asian-Canadians. Titled after the theory of third space (a concept of claiming a third position in terms of negotiating one’s conflicted identity) the installation is a literal interpretation of this theory, reflected in a bedroom setting.

The idea was inspired by my experiences growing up as a second-generation Canadian of Chinese and Vietnamese descent. At home, my parents had passed down certain practices and traditions particular to the cultures they grew up in. Outside of home, especially in school communities, societal culture is framed predominantly around Western Canadian ideals and values which do not always include people of colour. Despite growing up in Canada – I couldn’t identify completely with Western Canadian traditions. nor with the cultural traditions passed down through family members, instead, the idea of a hyphenated Canadian culture best fit my experiences. Thus, this inbetweenness of cultural identity became the focal point of my thesis work.

I decided the best way to approach a discussion of the hyphenated Canadian identity was to explore my own experiences, in a way that others may relate. I interviewed other Asian-Canadians that shared similar feelings of inbetweenness in cultural or ethnic identity. From these interviews, I drew out anecdotes that alluded to the un-obvious, vague, or indefinite experiences of race and culture.

Through my research, I had learned about the sociolinguistic theory of the third space, described by English scholar and critical theorist, Homi K. Bhabha. This  ambiguous area that forms when two or more cultures interact, explains the uniqueness of an individual’s identity. From this theory, I had taken the metaphorical third space to create a literal space that examined the multiple cultures many individuals living in Canada identify with. The bedroom became the appropriate setting for intimate narratives to be shared.

The staged bedroom is dressed with furniture items such as a bed, chair, and a desk, as well as donated artifacts of memorabilia, clothing, postcards, and books that allude to the respective stories shared by participating interviewees. Five different audio pieces play from hidden locations in the space while timed lighting effects change to suit the tone with each respective interview segment. Visual clues and anecdotes from each individuals’ stories are covertly integrated into the objects, yet are very present in the interactive space. The traveling voices and lighting act as guided reading throughout the immersive room of each narrator’s experience.

The bedroom as a stage and the objects like performers, anecdotes from the interviews that allude to experiences of being in-between identities, or acts of discrimination were extracted as appropriate quotes to tell these stories. These quotes  were inscribed onto items that could represent or symbolize each story, transforming the room into an analogy of how microaggressions are present in everyday life. The inscriptions were meant to blend in and be unsuspecting until the viewer reads them and is confronted.

Such as the tote bag hanging on the clothing rack, the quote reading, “I was walking my dog in my neighbourhood and these 2 little kids came up to me and asked if I were a nanny.” Although appearing to be an ordinary bag, the inscription actually  reads as an account from an uncomfortable personal experience of negative stereotyping this particular individual received.

Some of the anecdotes followed audio segments from the interviews, cued by orchestrated lighting and accompanied by diegetic sound effects like drawers opening, pages flipping, and handwriting. A new scene is set creating a tone appropriate for each narrative. Through setting up a story to be shared in this manner, audience members are immersed in the environment, making the experience of the stories more provocative. With the quote on the mug sitting on the bookcase for instance, all the lights turned off while the desk lamp was left on and changed to a cooler colour. Sound effects of pen scribbling played from a speaker near the desk and the sound of a spoon stirring in a cup played from the bookcase, while the interview respective to the quote on the mug played. From seeing the quote, “I feel a responsibility to address racism in my art.” on the mug to experiencing the story, the audience is gradually pulled into an immersive setting making a strong impression on visitors of the issues and particularities of the Asian-Canadian experience.

As Grad Ex ends, the halls of the art school are stripped bare of students’ thesis projects. It was like a sad goodbye at the end of a great party. After the show, I had resumed working my part time jobs on the weekends. From the excitement of showing ambitious art work concerned with issues on racism, to the quiet little family owned restaurant of a predominantly white town. I felt stuck again in the same surroundings I had been fighting in my art practice, feeling slightly defeated, as if my work was for nothing.

I dwell on the quote that is on the mug, feeling resonance to this responsibility of making work on race as a woman of colour. The bane of my racialized experiences have galvanized my feelings to commit to defending a minority voice, but can be emotionally exhausting. Recognizing this, I began allowing myself more liberty to broaden my artistic practice with various themes, interests, and enjoyments that do not necessarily pertain to social issues, as I learned that rest, self-care, and celebration as people of colour can be a radical and important form of activism as well.

This stagnant feeling I am experiencing is yet only another state of being in-between, however it is the in-betweenness of being an artist of colour and the choices I decide to make for my practice looking into the future.


Janet Tran is an emerging Toronto based artist creating relational works that examine social issues within multiculturalism, racism, feminist issues, mental health, and cultural identity in the Canadian context. Her works usually call the audience into participation or interaction. Tran identifies as a Canadian of Chinese and Vietnamese descent. Born and raised in Toronto, she majored in Integrated Media at Ontario’s College of Art and Design University, receiving her Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2017.

Get To Know: OBUXUM, The Music Producer Redefining Live Performance

In advance of This is Worldtown’s One Year Anniversary Event ARCHV RMX, we chatted with performance artist OBUXUM about finding healing through hip hop, storytelling through live performance, and rejecting compromising her sound.

Obuxum is a performative music producer who draws on her Somali heritage to inform a visionary approach to electronic music steeped in R&B, hip hop, house and ambient styles. She’s been on the rise with performances at Kazoo! Fest, Electric Eclectics, Venus Fest, Wavelength Music Festival and more. OBUXUM made now Toronto’s list of Electronic Artists to Watch in 2018.

H.E.R (2017) Album Cover

How did you get started?

Other than a musician I’m a community worker, so I work with youth at Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre. I wanted to learn how to use hip hop as a way to teach children about music production. So in 2011, I joined a program called LEAP, that focused on hip hop production. It was there that I met Soteeoh. He changed my life. He worked in that program back then, and I work there now. He encouraged me to do the program, and beat production. After a few months, I started putting music together. I started experimenting and coming up with music that was still in the hip hop realm. That was back in 2011. I took a break for a while but in 2015, I decided that Toronto deserves to know who I am. So I did my first project called 2991. It was mostly hip hop beats that I made in 2011 and 2012. But I didn’t care if people didn’t feel it, I just wanted them to know that I’m an artist. And I felt like it was important for me to put out some kind of work that would legitimize the fact that I’m an artist. I can be creative, I can do a lot of creative work, but if I have nothing to display, how do I legitimize the fact that I’m an artist? That was the first thing I put out.

From there, I continued it. I would make music, and then try to find ways to perform it live. In 2016 I did a set at Long Winter, and after that I started getting more bookings to do live sets. With each booking, I started to learn about performance in a new way and how to interact with my music differently. That relationship changed. Some people resonate with instrumentals, some people resonate with just words, but I wanted to make my performance in a way where it doesn’t matter what you like, you’ll be able to feel my story. So that’s how I perform live now. My sets are designed in a way where it tells a story of its own.

2991 (2015) Album Cover

What was the inspiration behind your follow up work, The Metaphor Series?

After 2991, I decided I wanted to think of a concept, an idea, where I could put multiple projects out. The concept that I came out with became The Metaphor Series. It’s rooted in my journey being Somali, being a first generation Canadian, living in housing, and also making music that is considered left field, that doesn’t really fit in a box. And how all those different things inform the way that I make music and my moods. I dropped Luul, which was the first EP to the series. And my mother, her name is Asha, but her household name is Asha Luul, so I named it after her. In the project, I sampled conversations that my mom would have with my aunts. I had one track on the album, Shaah Iyo Sheeko – that means Tea and Conversation. And that’s exactly what was going on.

LUUL (2015) Album Cover

What inspired you to create the music that you do?

Experience with life, with people, with working in community. Experience performing live, being inspired by other artists no matter what art form. I’m not just inspired from musicians. I’m literally inspired by everything. Everybody has a creative ability in them. In your life journey, you have to find that niche, and what fits, and what you can translate that into.

When you were growing up, what kinds of music were you surrounded by?

My mom would watch a lot of old Hindi movies, the black and white ones. I remember, when I was 8, there was a movie called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and I was so in love with the music. Hindi movies are very musical. They’re also super dramatic and three hours long. But I used to find myself copying what they were singing about and dancing in front of the TV. That’s really where I learned music, from Hindi films.

And the thing about Hindi films is that it would hit your heart. Positive, negative, whatever. You just feel it in your chest. And that’s what I constantly want to regurgitate, it’s that feeling.

I started getting into hip hop around the time I started working at the community centre, and I was going through a very depressive state. But I felt that hip hop just made it make sense. And that’s why I want to teach children about hip hop as a way of healing, because it helped me.

What are some of the themes in your music?

I think currently, my biggest theme is resistance. Now that I am performing live, it’s something I feel like I’m constantly faced with. I’m usually performing in white spaces. Sometimes I’ll be the only black girl in the whole line up, but I’ll be the one that they remember. For me, that’s a form of resistance. When I’m making music, for example, with H.E.R (Hearing Every Rhythm) – it comes from a very feminist standpoint. I have this track called HE(R)STORY and I sampled Eartha Kitt. And she was talking about compromise. Being female, being of colour, being a producer and performer; I can relate to that. I’ve had a lot of conversations with people where they try to tell me to compromise my sound. But compromising my sound is compromising who I am.

ITIYAMA (2016) Album Cover

What issues do you hope to change or address through the work that you do?

I would hope to inspire conversations around encouraging or creating spaces for women of colour that are interested in music production in Toronto. I know that’s so specific, but when I did a release party for H.E.R, it was difficult for me to find women of colour producers that would also perform live. You can find so many DJs but you can’t really find producers. That’s a problem for me. I would love to see new spaces that encourages women of colour producers to come out, play their beats, do their thing. That’s a conversation that I’d really like to start.

Why is it important to have physical spaces and digital spaces for artists of colour and specifically female artists of colour to share their work?

We already know how this world works. There’s so many of us but we’re so invisible. So when physical spaces are created, there is an actual existence of these women, and we are at the forefront. And we’re given that limelight to do whatever it is we want to do; to showcase the work that we produce in our bedrooms, in real life spaces. In the digital world, unless you have a label, it’s a lot harder. But that’s why I use my face on my album covers. I want you to know that I’m black. I want you to know that I’m a woman. And I want you to know that I made this music.

Have you found a community in the tech beats space? What’s that like, if you have?

Somewhat. Me and a really good friend of mine, who is also an amazing producer, Kilamanzego, we’re working on creating ideas of how we can do festivals that centre around women of colour that are producers. It’s called EF FEMME. Right now, we’re just focused on discovering other women of colour producers and try to share their work and circulate that.

Being Unapologetically Muslim-American and Proud

Muslims at a march in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

By Haneen Oriqat

Writer Haneen Oriqat reflects on what the election of Trump means to her as someone proudly Muslim-American, and why she’s not giving up. 

This year, for the first time since I have been able to vote, I watched the elections unfold while traveling outside of the country. On election night, I stopped by a coffee shop in London. While asking the barista if it was possible for him to recreate a drink that I discovered was only made in America, he noticed my accent. My American accent had become an invitation to ask me about our country. He asked if I was from the States and wanted to know what part. “California,” I answered with pride. I had learned while traveling that my state had a good reputation abroad, which at times made me homesick. But, that night, it didn’t bring me comfort. I knew where his questions were headed.

A large smirk appeared on his face as he leaned forward and asked, “So, did you vote for Trump?” He leaned back and laughed, shaking his head as if he, too, understood how ridiculous a question that was for me. I had become accustomed to being askedabout the elections back home, but this was the first time I was directly asked not how strongly I stood against Trump, but if I had actually voted for him. Before election night, unless I was engaged in a serious conversation, my go-to responses were always something along the lines of sarcasm, “We do not speak of he-who-must-not-be-named” or simply, “America is just going through some hard times right now. We have a history of doing that.” Up until election night, I still believed my country would choose to stand on the right side of history and progress forward.

That night, knowing what could be the fate of our country, I didn’t have any sarcasm to offer. I looked back at the barista, well aware that we both came from a shared community of people of color, and knew that while he might have been joking, I couldn’t. I answered with silence. I held a straight face as I stared back at him. He responded with shaky laughter and then matched my silence. His voice softened as he asked about my country’s future. Before I could respond, he asked, “Are you going to return to the States?” And, quick laughter, “Can you?”

Many friends I had met while traveling abroad questioned whether there was a chance I would be barred from returning home despite the fact that there’s a period between the elections and inauguration. A friend back in the U.S. had even joked that I had timed my travels perfectly “in case things went south.” My friend’s mom, whom I was staying with in London, sarcastically detailed a plan of how she would adopt me and bring my family over if I wasn’t allowed back. Underneath all that sarcasm and joking, there was real fear. In all situations, being asked whether I would be allowed to return home was vastly different than being asked whether I would choose to return home. One detail I knew for certain, and I didn’t hesitate with my answer.

“Yes,” I told the barista. “I’ll be returning home. It’s my country. I was born and raised there.”

Even outside the U.S., I was still defending the fact that being Muslim and American was one intertwined identity for me.

Later, my friend and I fell asleep for a few hours while electoral votes were beginning to be counted back in the States; it was past midnight in Europe. I woke up only a few minutes before the result was announced. “He won.” My friend’s monotone voice jolted me awake. “What.” It wasn’t a question to her response. It was just my brain processing the new reality. “He won.” Her face, emotionless, mirrored mine. “No.” It was all I could say back before grabbing my laptop. “They haven’t officially announced it yet, but he won.” She repeated and walked out of the room. In that moment, I didn’t need to see the rush of news stations reporting the win online. My friend’s mother had the BBC news channel turned up in the living room. In true American fashion, this election was going to affect the entire world. Suddenly, the small apartment was filled with silence.

As a Muslim American, I take pride in the privilege to demand our rights and freedoms, and elect the powers that will rule over us. And also, I am angry. But not because Hillary Clinton lost. While Clinton winning might have made us feel safer, the reality is that, even if she’d won, my fellow Americans voted for Trump, standing by his hatred and supporting him. The fact is that I’m surrounded by Americans who didn’t see the privilege that allowed them to turn a blind eye to the larger part of the country that would be severely affected by Trump’s rhetoric and followers. I watched friends on social media complain whenever politics were brought up. They couldn’t be bothered with real incidents that were affecting their fellow neighbors across the country. They were happily living in a bubble where their privilege made them feel safe and untouched.

For those communities that have been forced to face Trump’s rhetoric through attacks of all kinds, we don’t have the luxury of apathy, nor did we have time to mourn for our democracy. My family and friends, although more cautious today, got up after the election and went about their day. As a Muslim American, I faced Islamophobia personally even before 9/11, even before I chose to begin wearing the hijab. My brother has been verbally attacked for being Muslim. Once, while driving home from a long day at work, my brother noticed an elderly woman in the car next to him giving him an obscene gesture. In the car with her were an elderly man and young children. My brother, confused at what could have caused her anger, pulled down his window and was greeted by the elderly woman once again with her middle finger raised, shouting, “Go back to your f**king country, terrorist!” before driving off with everyone inside laughing. I remember him expressing to my family that he was less concerned about the elderly couple than about the example of hate and ignorance they were setting for the young ones in the car. At that moment, he also sympathized with my mother and I who — by also choosing to wear the hijab — have faced too many similar experiences.

My own mother has experienced both verbal and life-threatening attacks due to her visible Muslim appearance, beginning when she immigrated to this country back in the ’90s. In 1992, my mother was verbally attacked for being a “foreigner” while standing in line at a grocery store with my brother and me, who were both toddlers at the time. Her shock was not just at the white man yelling in her face, but also at the black female cashier who defended the man who stood in front of her. Being raised outside the States, she had an understanding that the United States was a place where people of all backgrounds existed together. She didn’t expect to be attacked for an identity she knew she had the freedom to have in a democratic country. My mom escaped the store to the parking lot and was greeted by the man, already sitting in his car, waiting for her to come out. He sped toward her, attempting to run her over and nearly missing all three of us. To this day, my mother is shaken by that incident, but she claims it made her ready for what was to come and undeterred from holding on to her identity of being a proud Muslim American.

Less than a week after the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported more than 400 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment. I had an ache in my heart, and a feeling of guilt being far away from family, as I watched news stories pour in from California to New York about people of color being attacked. I found myself constantly checking in with my family back in the United States. Safety felt like a privilege, and it suddenly felt nonexistent. Trump’s rhetoric is not something new to our community, but his election has given more fuel for hate from his supporters.

However, our communities that have been attacked by Trump and his supporters are stronger and will not allow hate to win over love. We are already witnessing numerous acts of kindness, of solidarity, with our communities across the nation. In my hometown, the Islamic Center of San Diego has received letters of love and solidarity, even baskets of food and home-baked goods, from other communities. Members of other communities have held signs of support outside the center on Fridays, the day Muslims believe is blessed and congregate for prayer. These acts of humanity have been witnessed at Islamic centers across the nation. Community members have greeted Muslims at conferences with signs expressing their solidarity. On a personal level, my friends have reached out to me to make certain I know they would always stand by my side as a fellow American and sibling in humanity. A friend of mine, despite living in Los Angeles, checked in with me a few times while I was traveling to ask if my family in San Diego needed anything and to make sure they were safe. Friends who have never been involved in politics and don’t feel comfortable with such subjects being discussed are speaking out and taking action by contacting their representatives and educating others. We are stronger as one. For those who don’t see Trump as an issue, it’s another opening for me to continue to educate them and others in our country. It is ignorance that fuels fear and that fuels hate. We should not have space for any of this.

There’s talk of leaving the country. Jokes and serious conversations. For me, that’s not an option. I’m unapologetically Muslim American and proud. I’m not going anywhere. My family is Muslim-American. We’re not going anywhere. My Muslim-American community isn’t going anywhere. We are part of the fabric of this country, in all parts of life. That’s not going to change. We will continue to rise up in our country, along with all of our allies — those with good conscience fighting for humanity — and continue to contribute to strengthening our country. You will continue to see us everywhere. We will continue to fight for justice, peace and love. That is what makes our country great. Standing as one to fight any evil within us and around us. This bond of humanity cannot be broken.

Weeks after the election, as my plane flew over my home state of California, I was charged with energy. I had been warned about what I would be coming back to — a reality that still felt like a nightmare back in London. The moment my plane landed, I smiled. I knew the reality that was waiting for me, a country still charged by the outcome of an election that not only shook the United States, but the entire world. I also knew that I was home. I was stepping back onto familiar soil and no one was going to stop me from returning home. I was ready to continue to practice my rights as an American and fight for what I believe in. I have nothing but hope and faith. Allah (God) says in the Quran, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives” (4:135).

Our role to make our country great will never be easy, but the American way is to get back up and fight for what this country should and must stand for. I am not alone. We are not alone.

Sending peace and love to my fellow Americans. We’ve got work to do.

This essay was originally published in Angels Flight • literary west magazine.


Haneen Oriqat is a writer and photographer. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes about issues of gender, religion and identity. Her work has appeared in The Manifest-Station and Everyday Feminism. She spends most of her time with coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. You can find Haneen’s work at haneenoriqat.com.

Post Your Map… Suritah Teresa Wignall

Post your map_ Suritah WignallWe will regularly be presenting a featured artist, writer or performer who is exploring questions of identity and personal narrative through their medium of expression.

The map is your representation. No rigid lines, no defined routes. You direct it on your own account.

dscn22341Post your maps_ Suritah Wignall she-infinite-copy

Artist: Suritah Teresa Wignall

Suritah Wignall

Emerging African Canadian artist Suritah Teresa Wignall is a passionate communicator; Suritah’s paintings are filled with confidence, colour and light. She is currently focusing on portraits that honor and express her African roots: “I am truly inspired by the African form, our beautiful features, succulent soul food and the rich complexions that coat our skin… I want to reflect back to my people a sense of their own inner beauty”.

Her talent as a visual artist was recognized at an early age and nurtured by several mentors and teachers. In 1998 she connected with a group of dynamic young Canadians of diverse cultural backgrounds who were devoted to the exploration of both self and social identity through art. Beginning to place herself within a broader cultural context, the inspiration for her art making began to center around a commitment to her African heritage and the portrayal of her people with positivity, beauty and strength.

Suritah’s accomplishments include both solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the United States. Her portraits were chosen for the sets of the TV pilot of Trey Anthony’s DA KINK IN MY HAIR, Ryerson University, YMCA and have the graced the dressing rooms of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Floetry, Goapelle, Femi Kuti and Alicia Keys.

In expressing her vision of African Canadian Identity and consciousness Suritah is taking her place in Canadian culture as an artist of beauty and power.

Suritah Teresa Wignall

Emerging African Canadian artist Suritah Teresa Wignall is a passionate communicator; Suritah’s paintings are filled with confidence, colour and light. She is currently focusing on portraits that honor and express her African roots: “I am truly inspired by the African form, our beautiful features, succulent soul food and the rich complexions that coat our skin… I want to reflect back to my people a sense of their own inner beauty”.

Her talent as a visual artist was recognized at an early age and nurtured by several mentors and teachers. In 1998 she connected with a group of dynamic young Canadians of diverse cultural backgrounds who were devoted to the exploration of both self and social identity through art. Beginning to place herself within a broader cultural context, the inspiration for her art making began to center around a commitment to her African heritage and the portrayal of her people with positivity, beauty and strength.

Suritah’s accomplishments include both solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the United States. Her portraits were chosen for the sets of the TV pilot of Trey Anthony’s DA KINK IN MY HAIR, Ryerson University, YMCA and have the graced the dressing rooms of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Floetry, Goapelle, Femi Kuti and Alicia Keys. Impressed by her talent, Vanessa L Williams, a featured actress on Showtime’s SOULFOOD, well known Toronto poet D’bi Young and singer songwriter Erykah Badu have each bought one of Suritah’s works of art. Suritah has also designed the album cover for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the book Cover for D’bi Young’s Book, Rivers and Other Blackness between Us. In 2004 Suritah was honored with a grant from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation in support of her on-going career.

In expressing her vision of African Canadian Identity and consciousness Suritah is taking her place in Canadian culture as an artist of beauty and power.