Diaspora

On a journey with Haitian-Canadian artist Wendy-Alexina Vancol – The Suburban Newspaper

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Updated: November 25, 2022 @ 9:33 am
Montreal-born Haitian-Canadian artist Wendy-Alexina Vancol says talks about things she knows, exploring themes of blackness and community in her art.
“Quench”
Tall as a tree
Melanin soak
It’s all in the fingers.

Montreal-born Haitian-Canadian artist Wendy-Alexina Vancol says talks about things she knows, exploring themes of blackness and community in her art.
“I talk about the things I know,” says Wendy-Alexina Vancol. “What is familiar to me: black bodies, hair, family, the things I recognize.” The Montreal-born Haitian-Canadian artist spends a lot of time exploring themes of blackness and community in her art, and particularly in her new show, Sou Wout La (On this journey), inspired by Vancol’s own journey through the city and its rich Haitian diaspora. “There are so many contributions of Haitians to the city of Montreal, my city of Montreal, that I am so proud to be part of, and I never get tired of exploring it.”
Her eccentric illustrations and imagery are on display at the Maison de la culture NDG (6400 Monkland Ave.) from November 24 to January 8, 2023, the collection featuring a variety of works such as Tall as a tree, an exploration of sibling relationships, Melanin soak, and more.
The Concordia Studio Arts graduate describes her work as joyful, mundane and sorrowful moments of everyday life, spun through surrealist narratives and imagery. Besides acrylics on canvas, Vancol works extensively on illustrations and drawing comic books. “I work with many mediums but at my core, even in my paintings, I always have a comic book narrative or feel.”
The award-winning West Island-native says Sou Wout La helped bridge the disconnect from her own cultural identity, something she found even more pressing considering the current turmoil in that country. The exhibition takes the public on an excursion through the city and the profound presence of Haiti and its lasting impact on Montreal’s cultural identity. “It’s here,” she says. “I can go and meet Haitians where they are. I feel I’ve always known: Across Montreal, Haitians have done so much, contributed so much.”
“The thing about the language that is so cool,” she says, always trying to bolster her own Creole, “is that so many people can speak it or understand it in Montreal.”
Indeed, Haitian Creole, like the handful of diaspora languages that have taken root in the metropolis and blossomed alongside it, has long been an integral part of Montreal’s polyglot soundtrack, something Vancol was proud to acknowledge in her exhibit. “I’d love to have people like my parents and family, when they go to an art gallery or museum, to recognize themselves in the themes and in such a beautiful language.”
Follow Vancol on Sou wout la until January 8, 2023. For information visit https://wendy-alexinavancol.ca/ https://montreal.ca/evenements/sou-wout-la-wendy-alexina-vancol-34318
“Quench”
Tall as a tree
Melanin soak
It’s all in the fingers.
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