Black History Month: Week Four

In the final instalment for Black History Month, we put the spotlight on ground breaking Black Canadians, who have used their art form or their platform to combat racism and social inequality. We chose four, out of many, who might spark interest to do your own research and learn more about Black Canadians who have made or are making an impact.

“Black history is not just for black people. Black history is Canadian history.” Jean Augustine was the first Black Canadian woman to serve as a federal Minister of the Crown and Member of Parliament. Ms. Augustine has been involved in many boards where her contribution expanded many social causes. She also served as the National President of the Congress of Black Women in Canada. Her work ethic and capacities were recognized by political leaders which resulted in the development and launch of Canada’s official multiculturalism policy in 1971. For more information on Jean Augustine go to:

“We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through.” In 1956, Rosemary Brown helped in the founding of the British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (BCAACP). Rosemary Brown was the first Black Canadian woman to become a member of a provincial legislature and the first woman to run for leadership of a federal political party in 1975. Politician, feminist, writer, educator, lecturer and mother, she has contributed much to B.C. and Canada. For more information on Rosemary Brown go to:

Deanna Bowen is an interdisciplinary artist and has been celebrated for a wide-ranging body of work. She received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2020. Her practice has been informed by intense archival research on racism in Canada, Black communities, and her own family history. In “The Klan Comes To Town,” Bowen recreated a 1965 CBC interview between Civil Rights activist Reverend James Bevel and two members of the Klu Klux Klan to challenge viewers to recognize the history of organized racism in Canada. Her writing, interviews and artworks have been published in Canadian Art, The Capilano Review, The Black Prairie Archives, and Transition Magazine. For more information on Deanna Bowen go to:

Stan Douglas is from Vancouver, studied at Emily Carr, works out of Vancouver and Los Angeles and is an internationally recognized artist. Douglas is the first Black artist to create Canada’s official offering at the Venice Biennale. The images are not photojournalism, but elaborately produced reimaginings of real events, all of which took place in 2011. In 2011 ≠ 1848, Douglas links the protests of 2011 to the widespread upheaval of the 1848 “Springtime of Nations,” when bourgeois uprisings against the aristocracy erupted across Europe. But there are key differences: 1848 ultimately led to the formation of nation-states, “whereas the social inequality that fomented the 2011 protests — a ripple effect of the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 — remains depressingly unresolved.”. While race is a consistent element in Douglas’s work, usually part of a larger exploration of post-colonialism, it’s not explicitly autobiographical. For more information on Stan Douglas go to:

Black History Month: Week Three

Maya Angelou was an author, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist. In her 86 years on this earth, she will likely be most remembered for her poems, where her keen insight shines through. She won three Grammy Awards for spoken-word recordings of her poetry and prose and was invited by President-elect Bill Clinton to read an original poem at his first inauguration in 1993, making her the second poet, after Robert Frost, to be so honored. Active in the Civil Rights Movement, she worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

One of her most famous quotes:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”  May 22, 2017

In continuing the spotlight on Black History Month, the Gabriola Arts Council presents you with a poem. A poem for youth and one that speaks loudly to the importance of empowering the younger generation. After you read the poem Google Maya Angelou and you will find yourself with much to review.


A Pledge to Save Our Youth

Young women, young men of color,

we add our voices to the voices of your ancestors

who speak to you over ancient seas

and across impossible mountain tops.


Come up from the gloom of national neglect,

you have already been paid for.


Come out of the shadow of irrational prejudice,

you owe no racial debt to history.


The blood of our bodies

and the prayers of our souls

have bought you a future free

from shame and bright beyond the telling of it.


We pledge ourselves and our resources

to seek for you clean and well-furnished schools,

safe and non-threatening streets,

employment which makes use of your talents, but does not degrade your



You are the bet we have.


You are all we have.


You are what we have become.


We pledge you our whole hearts from this day forward.

7 bouquets of original artwork by Gabriola Artists

Gift ideas – original artwork & flowers

These flowers never wilt or die. They’re made of paint, glass, ink, fabric or sterling silver by artists on Gabriola Island.

Wouldn’t one of these bouquets make a great valentine’s day gift for a sweetheart? 💕❤️💕
These and 900 other artworks are available to view on the Gabriola Arts Council online catalog at

1. Ceylon Flowers, large 60″x48″ oil painting by Tyrrell Clarke
2. Amber Sunflower pendant by Yvonne Noyon of Veritas Silver Designs
3. Dahlias, 21″x28″ watercolour painting by Linda Read
4. Echinacea Garden, circular alcohol-ink on board with resin coating by Leaha Argue of Hiddengemartz
5. Summer Garden stained glass, 8″x22″ stained glass panel by Catherine Hart
6. Resonant Still Life, photograph by carol weaver
7. Flamenco, 32″x28″ quilted fabric poppy quilt by Marilyn Geater

Do you have a favourite? Tell us in the comments below.

Kasahara Gabriola Trust Artist Residency – call for applications

Explore your Art Within the Gabriola Island Community

Kasahara Gabriola Trust and the Gabriola Arts Council are seeking applications from artists working in a wide range of disciplines for this two month residency which takes place on Gabriola Island, BC, the Isle of the Arts. Gabriola Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands located in the Salish Sea and is a 20 minute ferry ride from Nanaimo located on Vancouver Island. Learn more about the artist residency, application criteria and the life of Toshiko Kasahara.

Residency Period: May 1 – June 30, 2023
Application due March 1st, 2023 by 5pm PST

Read more…