As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic | Allen D. Crooks: Family Matters

Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax

This February, two photography exhibitions will share the spotlight at Dalhousie Art Gallery. As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic and Allen D. Crooks: Family Matters open on February 3 and are on view until April 7, 2024. Both exhibitions capture the profound complexities of African Diasporic communities, cultures, and identities through the lenses of Black photographers, portraying intimate moments of everyday life and celebrating resilience and diversity.

Dawit L. Petros, Hadenbes, 2005, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). Courtesy of the artist/Bradley Ertaskiran.

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic
Selections from the Wedge Collection

February 3 – April 7, 2024
Opening Reception: February 2, 7 – 10 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery

As We Rise is organized by Aperture (New York) and curated by Elliott Ramsey of the Polygon Gallery (North Vancouver). The exhibition features a selection of photographs from the Wedge Collection of Dr. Kenneth Montague and features 75 artists from all sides of the Atlantic.

The essence of community lies at the core of this exhibition. Dr. Kenneth Montague founded the Wedge Collection in 1997, Canada’s largest privately owned collection dedicated to championing Black artists. The exhibition draws its name from a mantra often invoked by Dr. Montague’s father: “Lifting as we rise.” This phrase underscores the significance of translating personal success into communal well-being, advocating for reinvestment in the Black community. This ethos of “lifting as we rise” expands the idea of family beyond close relatives. The exhibition seamlessly blends the familial with the familiar, as each photograph features Black subjects captured by Black photographers. Their authentic portrayal reflects a mutual and consensual gaze, creating a natural connection with the viewer. The resulting imagery is diverse and heterogeneous, much like a family album. As We Rise explores the intersection of community, identity, and power, highlighting the nuanced strength, beauty, and vulnerability of Black life in each photograph.

Samuel Fosso, ’70s Lifestyle, 1975–78, from As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic (Aperture, 2021). © Samuel Fosso, courtesy JM.PATRAS/PARIS

As We Rise features works by Raphael Albert, Henry Clay Anderson, Tayo Yannick Anton, Liz Johnson Artur, James Barnor, Dawoud Bey, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Deanna Bowen, Jody Brand, Kwame Brathwaite, Sandra Brewster, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Vanley Burke, Mohamed Camara, Kennedi Carter, Jorian Charlton, June Clark, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Renee Cox, Erika DeFreitas, Jabulani Dhlamini, Stan Douglas, Louis Draper, Rotimi Fani Kayode, Samuel Fosso, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Courtney D. Garvin, Jérôme Havre, Barkley L. Hendricks, Leslie Hewitt, Ayana V. Jackson, Rashid Johnson, Aaron Jones, Anique Jordan, Seydou Keïta, Lebohang Kganye, Luther Konadu, Deana Lawson, Zun Lee, Oumar Ly, João Mendes, Jalani Morgan, Dennis Morris, Aïda Muluneh, Eustáquio Neves, Jamal Nxedlana, Lakin Ogunbanwo, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Bidemi Oloyede, Horace Ové, Gordon Parks, Dawit L. Petros, Charlie Phillips, Afonso Pimenta, Ruddy Roye, Athi-Patra Ruga, Abdourahmane Sakaly, Jamel Shabazz, Abdo Shanan, Malick Sidibé, Xaviera Simmons, Ming Smith, Paul Anthony Smith, Sanlé Sory, Eve Tagny, Texas Isaiah, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, James Van Der Zee, Nontsikelelo Veleko, Ruby Washington, Ricky Weaver, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kehinde Wiley.


Allen D. Crooks, Untitled, 2009. Archival silver gelatin print on paper, 11″ x 14″. From Family Matters. Courtesy of the artist.

Family Matters
Allen D. Crooks

February 3 – April 7, 2024
Opening Reception: February 2, 7 – 10 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery Alcove

In the Gallery’s Alcove, visitors can find Family Matters, a solo exhibition showcasing the work of Halifax-based artist Allen D. Crooks. Allen Crooks’ poignant black and white photography captures the essence of shared experiences, celebrating the resilience and vibrancy of the African Nova Scotian community from varied perspectives. Family Matters goes beyond mere visual documentation; it is a heartfelt homage to the profound importance of familial connections, revealed through his intimate and deeply human treatment of each subject. Through Crooks’ lens, this exhibition serves as a testament to enduring strength and rich cultural heritage, highlighting the beauty found in the nuances of daily life and the invaluable ties that bind us together.


Join in celebrating the opening of these two exciting exhibitions at the following events:

Opening Reception
Friday, February 2, 7 – 10 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery

Celebrate the opening of As We Rise with Dr. Kenneth Montague of the Wedge Collection and Curator Elliott Ramsey. The evening will feature a live set from local DJ R$ $mooth inspired by the recently released LP, As We Rise: Sounds from the Black Atlantic, beginning at 8 pm.

Exhibition Talk & Book/LP Signing with Dr. Kenneth Montague and Elliott Ramsey
Saturday, February 3, 2 – 4 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery

Join art collector, curator and founder and director of Wedge Curatorial Projects Dr. Kenneth Montague and As We Rise curator Elliott Ramsey for a presentation about the Wedge Collection, and the works that inspired this significant project on contemporary Black photography and its focus on Black portraiture. Dr. Montague will discuss the driving forces behind his establishment of one of Canada’s largest private art collections exploring African diasporic and contemporary Black visual culture alongside Elliot Ramsey who will discuss the development of the exhibition and its tour in Canada and the US. Following the talk, Dr. Montague will be signing copies of the Aperture publication, As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic as well as the accompanying vinyl records, As We Rise: Sounds from the Black Atlantic. Catalogues and LPs will be available for purchase through Dalhousie Art Gallery and the King’s Co-op Bookstore (6350 Coburg Rd, Halifax, NS B3H 2A1) throughout the exhibition run.

Artist Talk: Allen D. Crooks
Thursday, February 15, 6 – 7 pm
Dalhousie Art Gallery

Allen D. Crooks will give an illustrative talk about his art practice, influences and current solo exhibition, Family Matters.

About Dalhousie Art Gallery:
Dalhousie Art Gallery is located in the lower level of the Dalhousie Arts Centre at 6101 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Attendance to the Gallery is free, and gallery hours are Wednesday & Friday from 11 am – 5 pm; Thursday from 11 am – 8 pm; and weekends from 12 pm – 5 pm. The Gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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