Monday, 2 November 2015

'RUNNIN' THROUGH THE SIX': TORONTO'S BLACK INSTAGRAM VISUAL AND PHOTOGRAPHY ARTISTS

AFRICAN CANADIAN HISTORY

BY: ANNISSA MALVOISIN

Editor's Note: All photographs were retrieved from the Instagram accounts of the artists featured. Click their handles!

Instagram though? Photographers and artists on Instagram have exploded in the past couple of years and their art has been growing across the online and physical art world. These artists have made an impression on Toronto by using the city as their canvas as they weave fashion, the concrete foundation, individuals, objects, and their creativity to produce professional (and quite amazing) works.

Let me show you.

Gyimahg Gariba

@gyimahg



In addition to being a visual artist, Gyimahg is also a cartoonist. His art fluctuates between reality and imagination; canvas and software.

Halima Jama

@halimajama



Halima's photography includes images of her life and the people in it. Her artwork was displayed at the Scratch and Mix Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) that I spoke about here.

Jah Grey

@jahgrey



Jah's photographs include portraitures that capture the power and intimacy between the camera and the subject. His works were also displayed at the Scratch and Mix exhibition at the AGO.

Taha Noor Maharuma

@tahaphoto



Half-Tanzanian, half-Canadian of Irish descent, teacher and social brand manager, Taha is multifaceted and multi-talented. His photos range from rain-induced puddles on the city streets to the multi-coloured Toronto skies. And concerts.

William

@willyverse



William's photography utilizes simplicity and exists with many layers of discovery. P.S. if you haven't tried jollof rice, your life is not complete.

Yannick Anton

@yannickanton



Yannick covers portraits, concerts, and fun times. His photography is unique as it plays with colours and individuals.


(it was really hard to chose just one photo per artist...)

Instagram has become a new space for artists with minimal or no exposure to showcase their works for free. Similarly, it has become a space for established artists to promote themselves as well. These works are further exhibited on a broader scale as social media crosses geographical borders. They continue and cross professional borders, as cultural institutions have increasingly begun to use social media to connect with their publics. The latter may come across the former as social media begins to break accessibility barriers between organizations and artists. These artists are able to use their accounts as aesthetic LinkedIn's to visually advertise themselves.

Social media crosses multiple borders, providing artists with increasing exposure. (Image Source)

Instagram, together with other social media platforms such as Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook have intensified the exposure of artists as their work aligns with the purpose of the application. This is exemplified by Instagram being visually-driven, giving visual and photography artists the chance to curate their pages and exhibit their works in ways that reflect their values and interests. Locally, many of these artists have been featured in cultural and social spaces around Toronto and have created specialized niches within the arts and culture community in the city. My heart smiles again.


What do you think? Has Instragram created a good space for creative exposure, connection, and exchange between artists, the community, and cultural institutions?

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