The Evergreen Public Art Program is pleased to present Roots, an outdoor photographic installation by Sandra Brewster that explores the long history of Black presence in the urban wilderness. Developed during her tenure as Koerner Artist-
Like friendly spectral entities, Brewster’ works guide viewers through these outdoor spaces, hovering above and enmeshing with the plant life of the expansive site and gardens, and echoing walks the artist took with activist, scholar, and founder of Black Outdoors, Jacqueline L. Scott, as they travelled along the Don River in preparatory research for Roots. The project animates the roots of Brewster’ Caribbean Canadian diasporic narrative and speaks more broadly to Black histories on this land. What constitutes multitudinous Black experiences in the Canadian wilderness? Brewster connects Canada and Guyana, Toronto’ forests and the Amazonian jungle, offering new perspectives on ideas of home and belonging while contributing to rich histories of the Black diaspora in the land now called Canada. These photographic panels chart movement and migration toward and across lands complicated by histories of unceded territories and enslavement.
Brewster’ evocative imagery shifts between presence and absence, being and becoming, moving forward and receding. Her process of applying the images through a manual gel-
Roots is an inherently collective effort, developed alongside research on Black experiences in Toronto’ ravine lands in collaboration with Scott, an advocate for Black people’ access and enjoyment of the outdoors. The collaborative nature of Brewster’ project brings together art, urban exploration, and Toronto’ Black histories and diasporas, highlighting the necessity of establishing safe outdoor spaces in order to gather and build communities. Through sharing stories and knowledge, Brewster and Scott have generated a sense of togetherness through the vitality of outdoor activity, with nourishing effects. While “ecreation”means “o refresh through enjoyable exercise,”the term can also signify self-
Sandra Brewster is a Toronto-
Exhibition 27 July -
Sandra Brewster, Roots, 2021–22. Photo-
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