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Black artists sell acclaimed works to Canada Council Art Bank for #ArtBank50

13 of the 72 artists chosen were Black and self-identify as such.

Black artists sell acclaimed works to Canada Council Art Bank for #ArtBank50
Thirteen Black artists sold artwork and paintings to the Canadian Council Art Bank, in association with the Canadian Council for the Arts, for the 50th anniversary of its collection. A total of 72 Canadian artists had works purchased by the organization, which had a $600,000 budget this year. CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS PHOTO

The Canada Council Art Bank has announced it has bought artwork, sculptures, and paintings from 13 Black Canadian artists for the 50th anniversary of its collection.

The artists were selected from over 1,700 submissions to commemorate the milestone; many of them hail from provinces like Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and the Northwest Territories.

“Art is often an expression and an account of an artist's quest for identity. Sharing the ideas, feelings and impressions that a work of art can arouse and impact our understanding and our experience of equality and belonging,” Simon Brault, director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts, said in a statement. “With these latest acquisitions, the Canada Council Art Bank collection is all the more inclusive and representative of the art that is currently being created and contributing to societal progress. Diversity is what will fashion our future, and I am proud to bear witness to that irresistible movement.”

Decision-makers at the Canada Council Art Bank, a rare collection of more than 17,000 pieces curated by the Canadian Council for the Arts, earmarked $600,000 this year to make the purchases. Visual art, sculptures, and paintings from 13 Black artists and 59 other Canadian creatives will further fill its coffers.

Priority was given to artists who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, racialized, deaf or as having a disability, from official language minority communities, youth, 2SLGBTQI+, gender-diverse and women.

You can see the complete list of 72 artists here. See all the Black artists who sold artwork to the Canadian Council for the Arts below.

Stanley Wany

Ancestry, 2019-2020 by Stanley Wany. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

Montreal artist Stanley Wany sold his painting Ancestry (2019) to the Art Bank for an undisclosed amount.

The painting, inspired by Gustave Klimt, The Three Ages of Woman (1905), shows a little girl in the protecting arms of a young woman, while beside them is an older woman standing with a bowed head.

Wany’s painting differs. “It's an important piece for me because there is a lot of discussions (circulating) about the Black community and our relationship to society as a whole,” he told Black Dollar Magazine.

“One of the things that bothered me, and continues to bother me, is the (lack) of representation of our Black sisters, mothers and daughters. Not all Black women are the same shape and size, behave the same way, or even have the same skin colour. We need to have this conversation about how we depict them.”

He paints an upside-down woman in the piece, depicting a portrait of an enslaved woman in the midst of struggles. The other women are painted to break down the notions of beauty and “caricatures that have been internalized.”

It's the first time he sold a piece to the Canadian Council for the Arts, and he thanked Wall Space Gallery for presenting his art and believing in him.

Anthony Gebrehiwot

The Power of a Hug series (2020) by Anthony Gebrehiwot. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Scarborough, Ont. photographer and artist sold a piece of his acclaimed portrait series, The Power of a Hug, to the Art Bank.

The series, “From Boys To Men: The Road To Healing,” was recently featured at the Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto. The series of photographs show the process of unravelling learned behaviour linked to childhood trauma.

“The image was inspired by a dream I had in Tanzania right before the pandemic,” Gebrehiwot told Black Dollar Magazine in an email. “It was a vision of a Black man visiting his younger self to comfort him and let him know that everything in his life is going to be just fine. He went to tell him that it's important to enjoy the present moment and not worry about the future.”

He added he was proud to be one of the 13 Black artists who sold pieces to the Canadian Council for the Arts.

“I'm grateful that the Canada Art Council's Art Bank is striving to include diverse works in their collection. As someone that has been making art for close to 14 years, acquisitions have been more of a recent development over the past two years. I hope the doors can continue to open up for all kinds of artists: Youth, the LGTBQ+ community, etc.,” he said.

Deanna Bowen

Afterimage (2020) by Deanna Bowen. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT 

Montreal artist Deanna Bowen sold a custom sculpture called Afterimage (2020). It is made of plexiglass in a black wooden frame and was originally featured in the exhibition, “A Harlem Nocturne”, at the McMaster Museum of Art.

The Oakland-born artist now lives in Toronto. She received a 2020 Governor General Award for visual and media arts.

Sandra Brewster

Blur (2017) by Sandra Brewster. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Toronto-based artist sold her portrait called Blur (2017), which was featured at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 2020.

While the artist was photographing them, Brewster instructed her subjects to move. She transferred her image to a new surface using a gel medium to capture changes in the creases, tears, and empty places where the ink doesn't fall.

Brewster received the 2018 Artist Prize from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and her Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto in 2017.

Jorian Charlton

Susie (2021) by Jorian Charlton. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Mississauga-based photographer sold her portrait, Susie (2021). The work comes from a series of portraits Charlton produced from 2019 to 2021 to create a space where women of colour, namely Black women, could exist freely to help them heal. ‘Susie’, the subject, is a poet.

Charlton has held shows at the AGO, Gallery TPW, Patel Brown Gallery, and the 2021 Arles Les Recontres de la Photographie. Moreover, she graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Photography.

Anique Jordan

These Times (2019) by Anique Jordan. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Toronto-based photographer snapped a woman in bed with her back to the camera in the piece, These Times (2019). She's dressed in underwear and an undershirt, her knees bent, and she appears to be looking out the window through a closed blind, wondering, pondering.

In 2017, Jordan was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist of the Year award. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Bushra Junaid

Sweet Childhood (2017) by Bushra Junaid.

Toronto-based artist Bushra Junaid sold her piece, Sweet Childhood (2017), to the Art Bank. She was born in Montreal and raised in Newfoundland. She alludes to the centuries-old Newfoundland-Caribbean traffic in goods made by enslaved Africans by superimposing 1903 St. John's Evening Telegram advertisements for sugar, molasses, and rum on the bodies of infants.

Kriss Munsya

Dream On (2020) by Kriss Munsya. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Burnaby, B.C. artist sold his piece, Dream On (2020). The photographer and visual artist released the work as part of his Eraser series. It is a tale of development and transformation that revolves around a Black guy revisiting previously normalized circumstances in a critical examination of internalized supremacy.

Kosisochukwu Nnebe

A series by visual artist Kosisochukwu Nnebe. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Nigerian-Canadian visual artist sold her artwork, Black Woman #6 (Hyper/in/visibility) (2017), to the Canadian Council for the Arts. Nnebe’s work has been exhibited at AXENEO7, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Place des Arts, the Art Gallery of Guelph, the Nia Centre, Studio Sixty Six, Z-Art Space, Station 16, and the Mohr Gallery in Mountain View, California.

Raoul Olou


The Toronto-based artist sold his painting Nap (2021). Featured at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in 2021, the painting features a young Black man taking a nap with sun rays glowing on his face.

The oil painting is emblematic of Olou’s work and his Beninese roots and Senegalese upbringing. He creates work that references personal experiences, race, ontology, intuition and anthropology inspired by quantum physics and speculative fiction.

Emmanuel Osahor

One of seven paintings in the "A Chair Outside" series by Emmanuel Osahor. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Toronto-based artist created a series called A Chair Outside (2022) and sold seven collection pieces to the Canadian Council Art Bank. It was featured in the Galerie Nicolas Robert in Montreal from Feb. 24 to March 26, 2022, the gallery’s website reads.

Timothy Yanick Hunter

Shimmering (2022) by Timothy Yanick Hunter. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

The Toronto-based visual artist sold his work, Shimmering (2022). The piece extracts images of the Caribbean from colonial archives and documents, reimagining new orientations for understanding local and diasporic narratives.

Siku Allooloo

Akia (2019) by Haitian-Indigenous artist Siku Allooloo. She carved a poem into sealskins using ink. JORDAN MAXWELL SCREENSHOT

Identifying as an Inuk/Haitian/Taíno (Indigenous Caribbean) writer, interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker, Siku Allooloo is from Denendeh (Northwest Territories in Canada) by way of Haiti (Ayiti) through her mother and Mittimatalik, Nunavut, through her father.

The Bowser, B.C.-based artist sold her artwork Akia (2019) to the Canadian Council of the Arts. In it, she carved her poem Akia out of sealskin in the creation of a wall hanging for the Hexsa’a̱m: To Be Here Always exhibition at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in Vancouver, B.C.