The Black Lives Matter Social Justice Art Project aims to bring our Fraser Valley community together in support for and solidarity with the Black community through visual art. By exhibiting the canvas paintings of four participating BIPOC Fraser Valley artists, we hope to increase awareness of the systemic racism faced by Black people and inspire concrete action to tackle its existence globally and locally.
University of the Fraser Valley
June 14 – September 15
Black Lives Matter (as a hashtag/movement) started in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murder was acquitted, and in 2020 when an agent of the state murdered George Floyd in broad daylight in front of witnesses. The 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer shook the world and shed light on the lingering plague of systemic racism in our societies and institutions. George Floyd’s death is a symbol of the intolerable injustice and discrimination experienced daily by Black people across the world. Yet, as one of the project artists writes in their statement,
“The Black Lives Matter movement is not something that started last year; this has been an ongoing battle since the dawn of time. Since colonizers promised us a fruitful afterlife for suffering at their hands.”
The BLM Social Justice Art Project arose from a CityStudio Abbotsford program called Hubbub. This semiannual project gives UFV students the opportunity to develop solutions to civic issues and share them with city staff, peers and engaged community members. When students from Cherie Enns and Miranda Ting’s Geography 464 class conceived the idea of creating a series of murals throughout Abbotsford in support of the global Black Lives Matter movement, CityStudio got on board and the project was born.
Over the course of multiple semesters spanning twelve months, UFV faculty and students worked with CityStudio to develop this collaborative and powerful exhibit and organize its live and virtual launch. An advisory board for the project put out a call for artists from BIPOC communities, a call graciously answered by Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz. The artists were mentored in their work by Black Vancouver-based music artist Desirée Dawson and UFV Visual Arts professor Shelley Stefan.
The project organizers would like to thank the numerous community partners and donors from businesses, local NGOs and within UFV, whose generous support has made this project possible.
Thank you to our
Peace and Reconciliation Centre (PARC), UFV
Inclusive Community Fund, Office of the President & Vice-Chancellor, UFV
Anonymous private donor
Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies, UFV
Centre for Experiential and Career Education (CECE), UFV
School of Creative Arts (SoCA), UFV
Craig Toews, Vice-President, External, UFV
Dr. Rita Atake, Associate Professor, Communications, UFV
Dr. Cherie Enns, Associate Professor, School of Land Use and Environmental Change (SLUEC), UFV
Shelley Stefan, Associate Professor, Visual Arts, UFV
Miranda Ting, Associate Professor, Graphic and Digital Design, UFV
Larissa Horne, Experiential Education Coordinator, UFV
Abbotsford Downtown Business Association
Abbotsford Arts Council
Archway Community Services
Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition
Student Union Society (SUS), UFV
Race and Antiracism Network (RAN), UFV
Community Health and Social Innovation (CHASI) Hub, UFV
Icing Baked Goods
Campus Planning & Facilities Management, UFV