Kate MacDonald, Artist – Halifax

(photo: Kordeena Clayton)

Kate MacDonald was born and raised in Halifax. Proudly African Nova Scotian, she studied Performance Acting at Ryerson University in Toronto. At the end of 2016 with the political climate swiftly changing around her, she felt called to mobilize. Out of this desire to make a change she founded and created The Magic Project, which focuses on bringing marginalized brilliance to the forefront of social media using various forms of visual arts.

Kate is a community facilitator, programmer, activist, artist and curator. Her art practice has always included photography, poetry, and performance theatre, but she has long been fascinated with any art forms she came across. Themes that especially interest her include justice, healing, joy, magic, self, community, energy, shapes/movement, and ancestral connection. Recently, Kate, Trayvone Clayton and DeRico Symonds created an African Nova Scotian community-based, youth-led initiative called The Game Changers. After a year of working together in advocacy, activism, and community, they decided to collaborate officially. Currently, Kate is the Branch Manager at the North Branch Memorial Library – a branch that has long been a staple in the African Nova Scotian community. She is also artist-in-residence this month at Eyelevel and will be giving an artist talk online on April 15.

  1. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown

a) How do we make change? What do we prioritize? What do we practice? Where is the joy, love, creativity? How do these things grow within our current frameworks? How do we dream? Emergent strategy has brought all of this to a head for me.

In the assessments (your emergent strategy journal) towards the latter half of the book (page 100 I believe is the beginning), I have found a process. Tangible, measurable actions for me in the meantime. The assessments assess fractal, adaptation, interdependence and decentralization, nonlinear/iterative, resilience/transformative justice, and creating more possibility.

For a while, I was committing to deep reflection on three pages a day and sharing pieces of wisdom I found within the text. This book and these conversations have given me a shifted perspective on how I might be able to begin evolving my own work. On the never-ending quest of learning and growing. I feel thankful.

  1. Decolonized movement

a) Okay. I went to theatre school. All of my movements were deeply calculated. With a right and a wrong, a form, an awareness, a purpose. But the purpose wasn’t feeling good. Wasn’t to check in or move stagnant energy or to unearth the roots of my trauma. There was shame and judgement of myself, body, and capabilities. What if we moved with moving energy and our wounds at the centre of it all? What happens then? What shifts? What settles? What remains? What does this look like?

b)

Kate MacDonald, 2021, digital collage

  1. Liberation – Who? What? When? Where? HOW?

a) SOS. I don’t know what to do. What do we need to do for our liberation? When? And how? I am keenly aware all the time of this excavation. Have I found an answer? Hard no. Am I continuing to look? Always. Do I believe it’s possible? I must. In the face of constant violence and injustice, it is so hard to imagine what the future might look like. But I do know that dreaming about it is vital, revolutionary, and a gift to the future.

This idea of liberation, the sweet moments of joy that allow me to drift off into deeper dreams of long term, immersive liberation…it does keep me going. Partnered with faith. I can stay organizing and creating.

b)

(photo: Kordeena Clayton)

  1. Colour and feeling

a) Energy as colour. Naming how I feel through colours. Exploring myself as a colour, others as colours. The idea that all of our auras are moving through rainbows in the course of a day. Depending on what we do. Who we are near. What we say. What we see. How we love. I am interested in glowy colours and colour exploration, like the lights at a club. What colour are the lights in my club? How do they set the mood?

b)

Kate MacDonald, 2021, digital collage

  1. Digital collages

a) Easing my brain. Keeping me busy. Helping me put short sentences in tandem with images. It’s helped me process during the pandemic. I make dozens a day. I also use collage to explore my identity and my journey. There are no rules. Sometimes you just put a pink square layered with a blue circle. That’s all I have. That’s all I’ve got. And that’s fine. It’s the pouring out of self that feels so good. No judgement. Sometimes with no purpose other than to move things around and out to make space for more things. Helps exponentially.

b)

Kate MacDonald, 2021, digital collage