Nia Centre Reveals Power of Exposition - Urbanology Magazine

April 8, 2013

There is an empowering feeling when a group of youth from diverse backgrounds can come together and set their own tone and create their own image in the media. The spectacular photo exhibit entitled Exposed: Telling Stories Through Our Lens, hosted by The Nia Centre for the Arts at Toronto’s Beaver Hall Gallery, created that feeling. And photographers Ebti Nabang, Mapela Uhindu-Gingala, Leilah Dhore, Candace Nyaomi and Taejon Cupid provided the lenses.

 

Powerful photos decorated the room and acted as conversation starters for youth to build meaningful connections, whether it was a political discussion or even a simple, “I can relate to that.” “I wanted to explore pieces that could allow people to connect with my photos,” stated photographer Leilah Dhore. “I wanted [them] to understand the amount of segregation we go through.” Dhore started exploring photography in 2009 and has come a long way. Her series framed pictures that showcased a washroom full of hair treatment items, a basketball net as well as a group featuring a token black girl. Scenes from the every day black movie called, life.

 

“I can take a photo and have an intended meaning all written up and write a book about it, and someone else can come along and write another book about something that’s completely opposite,” explains Taejon Cupid. He had an amazing series based on cultural and grassroots identity, his photos were vividly captured, mixed with beautiful landscape shots, studio images exposing the beauty of black skin as well as the heartfelt connection between a father and his daughters, to name few. “I really just give you a title and hope that it gives you an image.”

 

“It’s great to talk about the diaspora outside of February, and encourage people to do so 365 days a year.” – Letecia Rose

 

Mapela Uhindu-Gingala and Candace Nyaomi both focused on the importance of the individuals in their lives. Uhindu-Gingala focused on her family roots and how they’ve instilled meaningful values in her Benin and Congolese heritage. Her series consisted of abstract portrait shots that were accented with strong flares that added strength to the powerful figures in her life. “It represents my parents’ aura [and] essence that I always carry with me.”

 

Nyaomi had a spectacular piece that effectively destroyed the stigma of the way that a black man’s strong masculine body is portrayed as a force to be afraid of in society. She captures the beauty, and wants people, “just to rethink the way we think about men [and] not only black men. They shouldn’t be so intimidating, I see them differently.” Nyaomi and her work were very strong advocates on the point of making sure we understood the importance of appreciation of our men.

 

Ebti Nabang’s spectacular piece that was entitled “I Am Not My Hair” was an incredible display of the various types and styles of black hair and the equilibrium of them in a serious and playful manner. It portrays the powerful politics that come with female hair.

 

The curator of the event, Letecia Rose, was able to commence the night with a powerful guitar groove backed by spoken word and a strong keynote by the one and only Kim Crosby. “A lot of people talk about us in the media and not in a positive light, so it was really just a good platform to have conversations about us,” Rose shared. “It’s great to talk about the diaspora outside of February, and encourage people to do so 365 days a year.”

 

The exhibit is on display at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St. E. in Toronto) through until May 5, 2013.

Words By. Danian Walker + Photos By. Adrian McKenzie

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