The Black and Rural Project is an artistic inquiry into the hearts and minds of black individuals tucked away on the Canadian Countryside. Its intent is to honour, amplify, and showcase oral histories/testimonies of black and rural Canadians, and to give voice to this modern, living heritage – a heritage that is afforded little acknowledgement in popular media. It is a project borne out of the Lead Artist’s own sense of “lonely blackhood”, as a resident of the tiny and predominantly white village in western Canada and has become a tangible means of creating a sense of place and belonging to a scattered and easily overlooked segment of the Canadian narrative. Now, more than ever is it imperative to liberate “what it means to be black” from the confines of urban settings, and to add nuance to how we answer the question: What matters to black lives?
This project is open to any rural dwelling individual of Afro-descent who is willing to reflect on their experience of what is it like in their skin in light of their rural context: the ways they feel full of pride and purpose, shame or isolation, and everything in between. Poetry, prose, photography, drawings, paintings, videography are all welcomed. These offerings will be compiled into a digital gallery space as well as a physical gallery and theatrical showcase that will tour urban and rural settings across Canada.
The heart of this project, however, lies in conversation. If you are interested in sharing your reflections and insights with the Black and Rural Project please reach out to project lead, Shayna Jones, at: info [@] wearestoryfolk.com