HUE x RMG: Honouring Unapologetic Expression

March 19th, 2022 ā€“ May 8th, 2022

An exhibition by the Womxn of Colour Durham Collective

HUE x RMG: Honouring Unapologetic Expression is an exhibition of photography by the Womxn of Colour Durham Collective (WOCDC), a youth-led organization in Durham Region that is run by, for, and with Black, Indigenous, and other self-identified Womxn of Colour (BIWoC).

WOCDC aims to create equitable and inclusive spaces to connect and collaborate with BIWoC who may feel marginalized, unsupported, or unheard. Through projects like HUE x RMG, they hope to make lasting change in the community by cultivating spaces where their interests and experiences are given the awareness, recognition and attention they deserve.

Connect. Create. Cultivate.

This exhibition is built around the organizationā€™s three core pillars: connect, create, and cultivate. WOCDC recruited eight racialized womxn and non-binary folks from Durham Region to participate in a photoshoot at the RMG. In small groups, Kezia Amoako, Anna Balagtas, Stephanie Hu, Ashleigh Hutchinson, Reisha Lyon, Melanie McFarlane, Melissa Murray, and Kay Williams were invited to connect with one another and the WOCDC team through storytelling. They had conversations about racism, identity, love, and resistance forged through both positive and negative experiences. Audio from those sessions plays on a loop in the exhibition and excerpts appear on extended labels that accompany the photo installations. Each story is illustrated with a portrait and a snapshot of the urban environment that provides contextual information about the location, theme, or content of participantā€™s story.

The portraits are visually unified by colourful lights that illuminate the sittersā€™ face and surroundings. In addition to visualizing the reciprocal relationship between people and place, the treatment of the portraits as a series also reinforces the themes that unfold across the exhibition, including questions of belonging, experiences of prejudice, and celebrations of identity and community. At the same time, the distinct colour gradients bring attention to the essential fact that each participant is unique and not representative of others.

In this exhibition, WOCDC created the conditions for all of the participants to show up without apology. The work brings attention to the joy and beauty of intersectional identities, while expressing the ways racism has affected the participantsā€™ interactions in public spaces. This exhibition is presented as evidence for the infinite potential of spaces made safe for creation and connection in community; you are invited to imagine what could be possible if more spaces were cultivated for BIPOC collaboration in Durham Region and beyond.

The WOCDC and the RMG would like to thank Kezia Amoako, Anna Balagtas, Stephanie Hu, Ashleigh Hutchinson, Reisha Lyon, Melanie McFarlane, Melissa Murray, and Kay Williams for sharing their stories and participating in this project.

We would also like to thank Smokestack for their generous sponsorship of this exhibition.

Follow WOCDC on Instagram! @wocdc & @wocdchue