Deep Dive into the Digital AGNES Portal: New Exhibitions and Audio Transmissions

Digital-borne initiatives create opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.



Visit the online exhibition on Digital AGNES.

Ezi Odozor’s commissioned long-form poem, with audio/visual components creates a narrative arc between the exhibitions History Is Rarely Black or White and With Opened Mouths. The poem invites guests into the space, offering a passageway to the world of the work, but also standing as a bridge for the multiple worlds we all inhabit. The poem functions with roots and routes for interpretation and experience that are both unique and shared.

Curated by Emelie Chhangur

Supported by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.



Access the online exhibition on Digital AGNES to look closely at works, experience a walk-through tour and watch artists speak about their work.

The exhibition, in-gallery through 20 March 2022 and online, interrogate cotton garments in Queen’s Collection of Canadian Dress through archival research and scientific analysis that connects these materials to resource extraction, Indigenous displacement, enslaved labour, and the Underground Railroad. History Is Rarely Black or White engages contemporary art and fashion to examine colonial history and envision a radically positive future. Artists Karin Jones, Gordon Shadrach, and Damian Jöel demonstrate the way burdens of colonial history entwines itself in research, making and cultural heritage.

Curated by Jason Cyrus

History Is Rarely Black or White is generously supported by Bader Philanthropies, Inc. Jason Cyrus would like to thank Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research (QFIR) for their work with Agnes’s cotton garments and Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario through the Curatorial Projects: Indigenous and Culturally Diverse program.

History Is Rarely Black or White Speaker Series
Watch the recorded talks or register for the upcoming 11 February live virtual event.

Black Bodies, White Gold: Unpacking slavery and North American cotton production
Watch now

Global thirst for cotton was fueled by the atrocities of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Anna Arabindan-Kesson joins History Is Rarely Black or White curator Jason Cyrus and conservator Anne-Marie Guérin to discuss ways in which they harnessed science, conservation, and historical research to spotlight Black life at the core of the Victorian cotton industry.

Fully Known: Cotton Production, Black History, and the Canadian Experience
Watch now

Charmaine Nelson and Shannon Prince join Jason Cyrus to investigate ways in which cotton production in the United States forever changed the landscape of Canadian diversity. Together they tell stories of Black people on both sides of the border by connecting the Victorian cotton industry with the Underground Railroad and settlement in Canada, addressing the related colonial legacies that still affect Black Canadian life today.

Style as Armour: Identity, Clothing, and Self-Fashioning in History Is Rarely Black or White
Online, 11 February 2022, 1–2:30 pm (ET)
Sign up

Julie Crooks and Nigel Lezama join Jason Cyrus to explore the use of style to both affirm one’s personhood and challenge oppression. Together they examine archival tintypes, contemporary portraiture, and Victorian cotton clothing to shine a light on clothing’s important role in constructing Black identity.

The speaker series is supported by the David and Patti Bain Memorial Fund and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.




In With Opened Mouths: The Podcast, Qanita Lilla, Associate Curator, Arts of Africa sits down with artists, musicians, curators and spoken word poets to discuss the expression of their practice.

Reflecting Agnes’s new curatorial approach of working along a continuum of exhibitions and programs, the podcast is mobilizing a range of guests including artist Oluseye, rapper Jameel3DN, spoken word poet Britta B, Métis artists and curators Jessie Ray Short and Amy Malbeuf, curator Jason Cyrus and writer Ezi Odozor, and Agnes’s Associate Curator, Indigenous Care and Relations Sebastian De Line and Collections Manager Jennifer Nicoll.

Seven episodes are streaming at Digital AGNES, CFRC’s website, and on popular podcasting platforms like Apple, Google and Spotify. Be sure to subscribe now to stay up to date.

The podcast series features original music by Jameel3DN, produced by Elroy “EC3” Cox III and commissioned by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2021.

Produced in partnership with CFRC 101.9 FM. This Podcast series is supported by the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Fund and the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.


Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory, Agnes is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre that proudly serves a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and as an active pedagogical resource at Queen’s University. By commissioning, researching, collecting and preserving works of art and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that support and centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Agnes promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

Agnes is an accessible venue, details can be found here.

AGNES THANKS Queen’s University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, the City of Kingston Arts Fund, Kingston Arts Council, and through generous contributions by foundations, corporate partners, donors and members.

1. Ezi Odozor, Spirit Banter, photograph, 2021. Courtesy of the artist
2. Installation view of History Is Rarely Black or White at Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Photo: Paul Litherland
3. Podcast covers featuring, left to right: Britta B, Oluseye, Ezi Odozor and Jason Cyrus, Jameel3DN, Sebastian De Line, Oluseye, Jessie Ray Short and Amy Malbeuf.

For further information, contact Kate Yüksel, Communications Coordinator at