“Wanted takes newspaper ads placed by Canadian slave owners claiming their runaway slaves and recreates them as beguiling, defiant photographs.”
Vidal Wu, Canadian Art Magazine August 24, 2017
Some of Canada’s earliest Black settlers were enslaved people yet their histories, dating back 400 years are conspicuously missing from the national narrative. WANTED confronts this erasure by presenting a visual and embodied archive of slavery in Canada. Created in collaboration with Camal Pirbhai, WANTED draws from detailed descriptions in “runaway slave” ads posted by Canadian slave owners in early newspapers. Rather than portraying these freedom seekers in the past where their lives are constrained by the violence and inhumanity of institutionalized bondage, we presented them in the future space of possibility they dreamed about as they set off on their journey to freedom. At first glance the photos appear to be fashion photos but the text on the images is be taken from the old newspaper ads displayed with them.
WANTED is currently showing at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood
View the series of 10 images
Press for Wanted
Canadian Art, August 24, 2017