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Videos / November 3, 2020

Chroma Launch: Kelsey Adams and David Woods in Conversation

In this video, Kelsey Adams and David Woods discuss the overlooked histories and current work being done by Black artists, curators and thinkers in the Maritimes

On October 3, 2020, artist and cultural organizer David Woods joined journalist Kelsey Adams for a live, in-depth public conversation about Woods’ nearly 40-year career as an archivist and advocate for the artistic contributions of Black Maritime communities. 

The talk was held to kick off the launch of Canadian Art’s Fall 2020 issue, Chroma, which surveys the aesthetic practices and legacies of Black art production in Canada and beyond.

The conversation began with an introduction to the backstory of the Chroma issue by guest editors Yaniya Lee and Denise Ryner.

For Chroma, Adams worked with Woods to write “Black History Decades” a feature that chronicles Woods’s pedagogy and advocacy recentring local Black creative practice and history to tell a complex story of Black Canada and its links to the global African diaspora.

This video recording of their conversation expands on the points of discussion in Adams’s article.

00:30    Land Acknowledgement
3:30       Introduction by Chroma co-editors Denise Ryner and Yaniya Lee
4:32       Conversation about the content and production by Ryner and Lee
26:00    Introduction of Kelsey Adams and David Woods
28:35    Conversation about Black Maritime arts with Adams and Woods
1:09:35 Q&A
1:41:00 Closing Remarks

Yaniya Lee

Yaniya Lee is a writer and editor interested in the ethics of aesthetics. Lee is Senior editor-at-large at Canadian Art and teaches art criticism at the University of Toronto.

Denise Ryner

Denise Ryner is director/curator at Or Gallery, Vancouver, and is a research fellow at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Her curatorial, research and writing interests include place-as-agent in exhibition-making and the cultural production of transnational counterflows of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Kelsey Adams

Kelsey Adams is an arts and culture journalist from Toronto. Her writing explores the intersection of music, art and film, with a focus on the work of marginalized creators. She has written for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC Arts, The FADER and C Mag.

David Woods

David Woods is a largely self-taught multidisciplinary artist and arts-organization leader from Dartmouth, NS. He was the organizer of Nova Scotia’s first Black History Month (1984) and the founding organizer of several arts and cultural organizations including the Cultural Awareness Youth Group of Nova Scotia (1984) and the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia (1992). Woods has curated pioneering exhibitions of African Nova Scotian art such as “In This Place” (1998) and “The Secret Codes: African Nova Scotian Quilts” (2012). His current research focuses on African American art pioneer Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828–1901), who is greatly revered in the United States but largely unheralded in Canada—the country of his birth. Woods is also writing a history of Black art in Nova Scotia from 1888 to the present.