Lectures and Talks

Art Connects | Talk Back Series with Afro Van Connect

Fri Jun 26, 4:30 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

On Black Spaces

Friday, June 26 | 4:30 PM


Stay home. Stay safe. Stay connected with our new series of online gatherings, Art Connects!

Black Spaces are authentic community spaces that unite people of African descent with organizations across Canada and the world to contribute to liberating education and ending systemic inequalities. Black Spaces celebrate and honour the Black experience by establishing opportunities for people of African descent to access equipment, education, training and networks, thereby empowering them to flourish.

In this edition of Art Connects, Afro Van Connect founders Dae Shields and Buni Kor bring together their peers, Itse Hesse, Feven Kidane, Nataizya Mukwavi and Quentin Vercetty, to discuss the current state of affairs, their diasporic connections and cultural experiences, and the future of Black Spaces.

Questions? Submit them during the Zoom presentation using the Q&A function. You can also engage with your fellow attendees and panelists during the event using the Chat function.

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Afro Van Connect aims to empower the voices of African Descent Youth through conversation, collaboration, creation and performance. They are dedicated to innovating authentic solutions and to increasing the visibility of underrepresented diaspora communities. They gather weekly at The Remix Café to give young creatives access to equipment, education, training, networks and opportunities, empowering them to creatively and economically flourish and building a platform to celebrate their heritage and diaspora cultural experiences.

Dae Shields is the founder and Executive Director of Afro Van Connect, a community advocate, musician, designer and events coordinator. As an emcee under the stage name ebonEmpress, Shields aims to share her lived experience as a Jamaican Canadian with her community. She is also bassist and front woman for Ital Blue, formed in 2017. Ital Blue strives to spread awareness about the injustice that African communities face to this day and to show the impact that people of African Descent have had on Canadian culture and cultures around the world. In service of this goal, Ital Blue actively spreads messages of hope, unity, love and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race.

Buni Kor, aka Kor Kase, is an actor, artist, activist, designer, event coordinator, life coach and co-founder of Afro Van Connect. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC., Kor began his acting and music career in the 2010s. He has since released music independently and played local shows across the Lower Mainland, generating an underground following and local attention. He is consistently releasing original music, covers and remixes on online platforms, including the release of multiple projects, singles and collaborations in 2020. As an actor, Kor has appeared on shows like Man in the High in the Castle, Izombie, and See. It is his goal to promote messages of empowerment, love, unity and equality. As an artist, he hopes to be a voice for his community and believes in the important of using his platform to highlight injustices and inequities to create awareness and solutions.

Quentin VerCetty Lindsay is an award-winning visual griot (storyteller) and art educator, who is currently working on his Master’s degree in Art Education at Concordia University with a focus on teaching Afrofuturism in underserved communities. As an artist, Lindsay’s work explores ideas around the Afrotopia as it relates to safe spaces for people of colour by utilizing the visual motifs of Afro-Caribbean Carnival. He also explores concepts around racial representation, public art and monuments, as well as the use of semiotics and Surrealism to tell meta-narratives about society and politics. Lindsay’s art has been featured in numerous media outlets and publications in various countries such as Japan, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, Australia, United Arab Emirates and France. In 2016, his mission for artivism (using art as a tool for social change) led him to launch the Canadian chapter of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAMCanada), an organization that gives a platform for artistic engagement through partnerships and projects, as well as event and content productions. Since its conception, it has continued to spread across the nation. Through his work, Lindsay hopes to engage minds, inspire hearts, and dutifully challenge others to help make the world a better place not only for today but for many tomorrows to come.

Feven Kidane is a first-generation Canadian, residing on the unceded territories of the səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ, Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w, S’ólh Téméxw, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm peoples. She is a musician and a member of local and student-lead grassroot organizations. She is currently studying jazz at Capilano University, majoring in trumpet.

In 2017, Nataizya Mukwavi founded Black Girl Magic, now called Black Women Connect Vancouver, as something she and her friends could enjoy together. Black Women Connect Vancouver is a collective of women who come together to inspire, empower, share our strengths and embrace our diverse experiences. It is a community where black women in Vancouver can build meaningful relationships and celebrate the beauty of black womanhood. Collectives like Black Women Connect Vancouver are essential to bridge the gaps that have been created in the local Black community, particularly among Black women here. They are an important way to express solidarity and form a community of support to challenge our mutual disenfranchisement.

Born in Nigeria and now based in Vancouer, Itse Hesse is an entrepreneur and digital marketer, whose work focuses on the representation of Black women in media. As the founder of Black Girl Collective Vancouver, she is passionate about Black sisterhood, empowerment and curating fun. She believes there is nothing we can’t do if we work together and uplift each other.


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