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Black Excellence:Manuel and Curtis exhibit at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Black Excellence in Art : Conversations with Manuel and Curtis

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Alice Leung generously invited us to the Art Gallery of Alberta to attend the opening of two new exhibitions:  Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies and Curtis Talwst Santiago: Pay de Devil – Brang! Brang! – Pay de Devil.

LCCMedia learned about the Art Gallery’s work to make exhibitions accessible to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Landmark events like 5 Artists 1 Love and Black Futures were held at Alberta’s Arts Gallery.

For BIPOC artists to excel, they need to believe in themselves and keep looking for opportunities to showcase their work.

Manuel is from Edmonton, he was delighted to be back in Edmonton to tell a story of how darkness transcends to light.

For Manuel, it is his first show in Edmonton. His pieces are provocatively powerful and he uses his art to seek and better improve our knowledge of what is going on in Haiti.

A  believer in possibilities, he agrees he has made a lot of mistakes but he is excited at the opportunities life has brought for him.

“We must believe in ourselves. We must have confidence because the world does its best to take our dignity from us”.

“I think it is important for everyone to believe that they are special”.

Passionate about giving people access to his work, he believes we would be judged at the ‘finishing line’ by what we gave not what we received.

Curtis has always been fascinated with festival art.

To able to have his babysitter and friends from his youth come watch his exhibition was really special for him. He hopes to be able to pass on the fact that “information is out there for him to uncover.”


The artistes

Manuel Mathieu is known for vibrant, colourful paintings that seamlessly merge abstraction with figuration.

Sharing recollections that depict everyday scenes, Mathieu blends into his canvases an interrogation of complex history of his familial homeland, Haiti.

By unearthing the traumas of state violence, he addresses issues that remain as urgent today as they have been throughout Haitian history. Born in Haiti, Mathieu lives and works in Montreal and was one of the artists recognized by the 2020 Sobey Art Award.

Curtis Talwst Santiago is known for his dioramas, in which he transforms reclaimed jewelry boxes into miniature scenes of political or social events.

In Pay de Devil – Brang! Brang! – Pay de Devil, he documents stories about Trinidadian carnival that he grew up with as a celebration of ancestors and a liberation from the constraints of the past.

Santiago is a Canadian artist from Edmonton and has exhibited internationally, from New York to Hong Kong. 

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies is curated by Amin Alsaden and is organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Pay de Devil – Brang! Brang! – Pay de Devil is curated by Lindsey Sharman and organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas.

They are a non-profit organization that has been in Edmonton, on Treaty 6 Territory, for almost a century, engaging imaginations and transforming lives through art.

The AGA is focused on supporting diverse artists and the presentation of original exhibitions from Alberta and abroad.

Missed the opening yesterday? You can catch these exhibitions at these times:



Read more here:

Edmonton Visual Artist Munderu Kibugu at the Remedy Cafe | The Yeg Show


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