WANTED: old newspaper ads reveal Canada’s hidden story of slavery
Artists Camille Turner and Camal Pirbhai transform posts found in old Canadian newspapers advertising slaves into portraits creating an embodied and visual archive of Canadian slavery.
WANTED will be presented at Border Cultures part 3: security, surveillance
Art Gallery of Windsor
401 Riverside Dr. W., Windsor, Ontario N9A 7J1
Friday January 30 at 7:00pm – 10:00pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—01/23/2015
Some of Canada’s earliest Black settlers were enslaved people yet their histories, dating back 400 years are conspicuously missing from the national narrative. WANTED confronts this erasure by presenting a visual and embodied archive of slavery in Canada, WANTED draws from detailed descriptions in “runaway slave” and “slave for sale” ads posted by their owners in early Canadian newspapers. Rather than portraying enslaved people in the past where their lives are constrained by the violence and inhumanity of institutionalized bondage, the artists presented them in the future space of possibility they dreamed about as they set off on their journey towards freedom. At first glance the photos appear to be fashion photos but the text on the images is be taken from the old newspaper ads displayed below them. The video presents Peggy Pompadour with her teenage son Jupiter entering the posh King Edward Hotel. Her owner, who had placed an ad in the Upper Canada Gazette trying to sell the mother and son had previously imprisoned them for resisting slavery. Ironically, the site of the former jail occupied the space where the King Edward Hotel now stands.
For more information contact:
Camille Turner | 416.871.4200