February is shaping up to be an exciting month as Black History Month promises thoughtful, critical, and entertaining fair from Black artists and innovators, and collectively communities of colour turn inwards in an effort to reflect on their history and where it leaves them today.

 

4-18: Native Earth Performing Arts Presents: Ipperwash

Written and directed by the celebrated Six Nations playwright, Falen Johnson, Ipperwash is premised on the 1942 eviction and appropriation of Indigenous land from the Stoney Point community to establish a military training base, Camp Ipperwash, and the repercussions of displacement that are still felt today when the land has been returned more than 70 years too late. A story about repatriation and resilience in an effort to reclaim what was once lost, Ipperwash is not to be missed.


8 to March 3: Keita Morimoto – Solo Exhibition

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is holding its second solo exhibition of Keita Morimoto’s work–an illustrious artist whose paintings have quickly captured the attention of Toronto’s art scene. Inspired by the Old Masters while employing a contemporary twist that can be traced back to his Japanese roots and Canadian surroundings, Light Passage sees Morimoto swapping out majestic backgrounds the likes of Caravaggio and Rembrandt for the gritty downtown landscapes of Toronto and Etobicoke. Expect to see many awestruck artists at the exhibition like yours truly.


9: Kwentong Bayan Collective: Balikbayan

Balikbayan visually documents the extensive, 150+ year role Filipino women have played in providing professional care in Canada, and presents Balikbayan boxes containing their migration and labors stories. The exhibition reflects the long history of overseas Filipino workers’ efforts to provide for their families back home and maintain a connection through sending home Balikbayan filled with items symbolizing their labor and care.


11-25: Game Changers

In honor of Black History Month, Hot Docs pays tribute to the Black cultural revolutionaries and innovators who challenged and profoundly impacted the uncertain social and political climates of their time through on-the-ground activism and art. Game Changers will feature films exploring the lives and work of visionaries Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Bob Marley, Maya Angelou, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the assassination of Medger Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. at the time of the Civil Rights Movement.


14: Richard Fung: The Wayward Roti

As part of The Art of Propagation performative speaker series held at Henderson Brewery, Fung’s documentary Dal Puri Diaspora explores how the Caribbean roti made its way through space and time and is indicative of the entanglements of British colonialism.


14-19: 5th Annual Toronto Black Film Festival

The Toronto Black Film Festival is back this year with powerful and dynamic Black films exploring the varied experiences of Black people from diverse communities and the cultural, social, and socio-economic issues that effect them. This unique film festival not only spotlights Black filmmakers and their stories, but brings with it the opportunity for people of all ethnic backgrounds to see the world through black eyes—to learn from that unique perspective and celebrate the shared values that bring us all together.


17:  YUKIAI: Nagata Shachu and Kodo drummer’s Chieko Kojima

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre brings together the distinguished Canadian taiko group Nagata Shachu with taiko artist Chieko Kojima—a founding member and the principle dancer of Japan’s world renowned Kodo drummers of Sado Island—for a rare collaboration entailing an evening of dance, drums, and song. To learn more about Nagata Shachu and Chieko Kojima click on the link!


24: Black History Month: Kaia Katar and Waleed Kush African Jazz Ensemble

The Aga Khan Museum honors this month by delving into the music of African Canadians with a double billing featuring Waleed Kush Jazz Ensemble with special guest Ruth Mathiang, and banjo-player singer-songwriter Kaia Kater. The musical expression of these artists is rooted in the continent and traditions of Africa and informed by issues surrounding identity, thus creating a space for conversations about diaspora, cultural hybridity, and how we define identity.


28 to March 11: Black Boys

An acclaimed production that returns to Toronto after a nation-wide tour in Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal, Black Boys is an exploration of queer male Blackness as three men pursue an understanding of themselves, each other, and the world. Created by and featuring Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy and Thomas Olajide, with Virgilia Griffith and Jonathan Seinen (who also directs), the ensemble weaves together fiction with personal narratives—creating something akin to documentary theater as the play reflects the creators’ experiences as gay black men in Toronto. The end result is a subversion of one’s expectations of how gender, sexuality, and race are performed.


This list was compiled by Aliya Ghare

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