montréal, 1985

Montreal, 1985
Carl-Phillipe Simonise/Po B. K. Lomami/Valérie Bah

© Carl-Philippe Simonise, Po B. K. Lomami, Valérie Bah

If it weren’t for personal family archives, one would assume that Black folks have only recently landed on Turtle Island. Afro-descendants have been systematically erased from “official” archives through years of deliberate visual segregation and lack of representation.

“Montreal, 1985” is a project consisting of a speculative photo series, “chosen fam” photo album, and process-oriented zine The series affirms Black presence and resistance to systemic visual apartheid, in a city that falsely flaunts its cultural “diversity”.

Using speculative fiction and staging personal archives, this project attempts to fill in a gap left by the erasure of Black folks rom Montreal-tio’tia:ke’s visual landscape, while casting them in opposition to the white settler colonial project.

The story centers around a fictional crew of Black queer students, artists, and activists who gather on a winter’s night in 1985 to enjoy each other’s company. Someone mentions a controversial news story that ignites political tensions, strong words, and avoidance within the group. A surge of bad blood and bickering jeopardizes the gathering. Their evening takes them from their living room to the dance floor of Balattou, a long-established Black space. Will they find release?

Our creation process mirrored the narrative we crafted: Ideological disagreements within the context of intimacies and a joint cause. In other words, Black love and liberation through conflict and emotional resilience. Our process and conversations on representation, questions of historical “accuracy”, ethics, etc., were documented in a zine that challenges the convention of pricey art catalogues in gallery spaces.

Une exposition célébrant la convergence d’Artistes Noir.e.s et leurs Histoires.

Vernissage: Jeudi 1er février 2018, de 18h à 21h
Exposition: 1er au 28 février 2018
Marché des créateurs: 24 et 25 février 2018, de 13h à 17h
Finissage: 26 février 2018, de 18h à 20h

Galerie Mile-End
5345 Avenue du Parc
Montréal, QC HEV 4G9


An Exhibition Celebrating the Convergence of Black Artists and their Stories

Opening: Thursday February 1st 2018, 6-9pm
Exhibition: February 1st – 28th 2018
For children: Sunday February 11th & 18th, 1-5pm
Makers fair: February 24th & 25th 2018, 1-7pm
Closing: February 26th 2018, 6-8pm

Mile-End Gallery
5345 Parc Avenue
Montréal, QC HEV 4G9


Vernissage :

Makers fair, children gathering and finissage :